In an effort to stop a species of killer fish from infiltrating the Great Lakes, Michigan's governor on Tuesday launched the "Invasive Carp Challenge," the state's latest response to the aggressive invaders.
Gov. Rick Snyder created the challenge to tap into the "creative minds of people" worldwide in solving the impending invasive carp -- also known as Asian carp -- crisis.
"Invasive carp pose a serious and growing threat to the economy and ecology of our Great Lakes," Snyder said in a statement Tuesday. "The Invasive Carp Challenge will tap into the creativity and expertise of the entrepreneurial community to find the best ways to protect Michigan’s most prized natural resource."
The state is specifically looking to barricade silver and bighead carp, two Asian carp species, from entering the Great Lakes. The people with the best solutions will receive up to a $700,000 reward split among them.
Written proposals will be accepted through Oct. 31.
Preventing invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes has been boggling officials' minds since the aggressive invaders first showed up in the Mississippi River. An electric barrier network was installed in waters heading toward Lake Michigan to prevent them from moving beyond.
However, one still seemed to slip by. In June, fishermen pulled a 28-inch silver carp from a Chicago waterway, prompting a two-week search for additional fish sightings. The carp sneaked past the electric barrier and was just 9 miles from Lake Michigan.
The June incident was only the second fish caught past the barriers, but the episode gives fresh ammunition to critics who question the effectiveness of the government's strategy for protecting the lakes.
The killer fish was imported from Asia in the 1960s to help cleanse algae from Deep South sewage treatment facilities and catfish farms. But the invasive carp moved past the area, pushing out native fish populations since infiltrating the Mississippi River, according to the Scientific American.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.