Thursday, July 1, 2010

Asian Carp: The invasion

The Asian carp swim into lakes each time the Ohio River floods. Arkansas fish farmers imported these fish from Asia to control algae in their fish rearing ponds. These fish farms are on the floodplain of the Mississippi, Arkansas and White Rivers. The Asian carp escaped those fish farms during floods in 1993, 1995 and 2002 and began their conquest up the Mississippi River.

These Asian invaders fought their way up the Ohio River in Kentucky and threaten its tributaries. Biologists found many large dead bighead carp after the Wild Turkey distillery fire killed out a portion of the Kentucky River in 2000. In some pools of the Mississippi River, Asian carp make up 90 percent or more of the fish life.

"They will spawn and then take over," said Ted Crowell, assistant director of fisheries for the KDFWR. "They adapt to any environment and any weather. They can survive our winters and our summers."
The scariest aspect of the Asian carp invasion of the Mississippi River drainage is these fish are filter feeders. Like the native paddlefish, these fish filter plankton and microorganisms from the water for their food. All fish, regardless of species, compete for the same plankton and microorganisms in the first year of their lives.
"Because of this competition, they have the potential to replace native species," Crowell said. "If you dump 100,000 pounds of fish that weren’t there before, it’s going to have an adverse impact. All of the fish are going to be competing for food and space and our native fish will suffer."
The bighead and silver carp seem poised to expand into other Kentucky waters. Rister said bighead and silver carp are now in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. They could potentially threaten their world class crappie, bluegill and black bass fisheries.
Another danger of the silver carp besides out-competing native fish is their curious habit of jumping high out of the water when a boat approaches. Motor noise from boats spurs the silver carp to jump.

"A lot of boat operators have been hit by these fish with some sustaining injuries," Kinman said. "Commercial fisherman on the Illinois River are using garbage can lids as shields when they drive their boats now. What is going to happen to jet skiers?"

The bighead and silver carp are not the last of these Asian invaders. Black carp, imported from Asia to control snails in the rearing ponds of fish farms, escaped from a fish farm in Arkansas.

"They brought them in to break the life cycle of a grub parasite in fish by eating the snails in their ponds," Crowell said. "They could hurt threatened and endangered native mussels in the wild by eating the young mussels. It is like bringing in saber-tooth tigers to control the coyotes."

AaaH! but don't fear my fellow anglers, from the courier journal:
Now if you do happen to go fishing for the Asian carp, you will need to leave your rod and real at home. The popular technique for hunting Asian carp is with bow and arrow. Here is a link for preparing Asian carp.

So long for now and happy angling!!!
Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Dick Durbin of Illinois introduced the "Permanent Prevention of Asian Carp Act" Wednesday in the Senate, while Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan introduced it in the House.

1 comment:

  1. I say we go fishing and do a mega fish fry at T-Gerg's place.