A proposal to repel Asian carp with stinging, noisy bubbles won first prize Tuesday in a contest sponsored by the state of Michigan to find new ideas for keeping the invasive fish out of the Great Lakes, the AP reports. Edem Tsikata, a software consultant in Boston, was awarded $200,000 in the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge, which Gov. Rick Snyder announced last year. He described it as a bid to jump-start a sluggish governmental effort to shield the lakes and their native fish from aggressive, voracious carp that have infested the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Illinois River, which leads to Lake Michigan. Three other contestants received cash awards. The challenge drew 353 entries from 27 nations.
"I'm confident that the solutions presented today help take us one step closer to ensuring our waters remain free of this dangerous and harmful invasive species," the Republican governor said. The concluding round of the competition in Detroit featured live presentations from four finalists and was dubbed "Carp Tank," a takeoff on the reality television show Shark Tank. Tsikata's idea was to install specially designed underwater propellers to generate a wall of bubbles that would implode as they move into high-pressure areas, emitting high-speed water jets. The noise of the propellers should be enough to deter the carp, but those that continue forward would experience a powerful stinging sensation as the bubbles burst, causing them to turn away. Click for more on his idea.