EXOTIC AQUATICS: A FISH CIRCUS

Kyle Sturgeon

Over decades of flooding, the Mississippi River and its tributaries mingled with commercial catfish farms across the south. Asian silver carp—algae eaters imported from China to clean the aquaculture facilities—slipped into the watershed and began to erase the biological foundations of each river they encounter.

Upon discovery of a breach into Lake Erie at Port Cleveland, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission activates emergency federal funding and quarantines a significant body of water in an effort to protect the Lakes’ combined $7 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry. Successive rings of net/wall are constructed, each one anticipating the failure of its inland predecessors.

As the newly ‘Quarantined Zone’ grows saturated with invasive species, an Outer Harbor emerges as a lucrative form of offshore urbanism. Ecological threat shifts to economic asset as opportunistic industries and curious alliances form spectacles within a plastic boundary condition.