This weekend, Murray State's Cinema International will feature a documentary showcasing an epidemic in your own backyard. Howard Whiteman, Ph.D., MSU professor of biology, and Moses Fritz, Ph.D., MSU professor of Spanish, visit Sounds Good to discuss the issue and upcoming screenings of DarkWater.
"Deliberately and accidentally, invasive aquatic species have been introduced into American rivers and lakes where they now thrive. Almost without exception, these species have demonstrated their capacity to detrimentally reproduce and reduce, rather than increase, aquatic biodiversity. Their economic impact is significant, both locally and nationally. In fewer than forty years, Asian carp have spread from their initial limited introduction in Arkansas to eight states along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Illinois, Missouri, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers.
In terms of rivers alone, this gives the carp a range of well over 7,000 miles through thirteen states. Their numbers are increasing dramatically in both rivers and lakes -- over 56% of fish collected during a 2010 survey in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes were Asian carp -- and publically mandated efforts for control remain unfocused and unsuccessful."
Decades ago, Asian carp were introduced to the Land Between the Lakes area in an effort to control noxious algae. Since that initial introduction, the Asian carp population has exploded throughout LBL, causing countless environmental problems. This weekend, Murray State's Cinema International will present locally made documentary, DarkWater, which highlights this ongoing issue. DarkWater aims to bring awareness of the Asian carp epidemic within the context of the lives of the fishermen, looking at the market for the fish, and some possible solutions.
"The film does a fantastic job explaining the stakes. We meet stakeholders, we meet fishermen right here in our own backyard and the LBL area. We meet people who run fish markets and we meet chefs who are actually coming up with tasty recipes for these fish," says Fritz. "I think anyone who is interested in the lake as an environmental concern, an economic [or] commercial concern, [or] as just part of our community, needs to go see this film to really grasp what's at stake and all the issues concerned. The film does a great job of showing this from multiple perspectives."
MSU Cinema International will present DarkWater Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Theatre. There will be a panel discussion following the film on Friday night, during which the public is invited to discuss the film and epidemic with Whiteman, biology professor, Tim Spear, Ph.D., and director, Glenn Hall. Asian carp treats will be available to try during the discussion as well.
"The film for us at Watershed Studies Institute is a part of our Four Rivers Watershed Sustainability Festival that's going on this week," explains Whiteman. "Tomorrow afternoon [Friday, April 5th] is part of our academic summit for the festival. We have a symposium on the Asian carp issue and on trying to get to a solution of how we could perhaps harvest carp sustainably in a way that would reduce their populations while not allowing an industry to get out of control."
For more information on MSU Cinema International, visit the Murray State website. Click here for more information on DarkWater and here for more information on the Four Rivers Watershed Sustainability Festival.