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Entries in black carp (4)


Giant Black Carp Caught in Mississippi River

This 120-pound black carp was caught in Bangladesh.A  recent catch by a commercial fisherman confirms that a third species of Asian carp capable of topping 100 pounds is infesting our waterways.

The 115-pound female black carp was taken near Cape Girardeau, Mo., on the Mississippi River. In 2011, an angler snagged a 106-pound bighead while fishing for paddlefish at Lake of the Ozarks, and a bass fisherman later foul-hooked an equally massive silver carp on Kentucky Lake. In their native waters, neither of the latter two species typically grow that large. The black, however, can attain weights of 200 pounds or more.

The Mississippi River black carp was donated to Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and researchers hope that its study will help reveal information regarding the species potential range,  as well as reproductive and size potential.

“I wanted to get a look at it because it’s much bigger than anything we’ve seen so far. I’m curious to find out all we can," said Gregory Whitledge, an associate professor of zoology. "We knew they were capable of growing this big, but this is one that is large enough that it is still quite an event."

As with bighead and silver, the black carp was brought into this country by fish farmers and escaped into public waters. While the former are algae/plankton feeders, the black eats mollusks. It was introduced to control parasite-carrying snails in aquaculture ponds.

The first wild black carp were caught in the Mississippi during the early 2000s. But during the past five years, commercial fishermen have reported catching increasing numbers of them in nets along with the native fish they are seeking.


Mapping the Invasion

This screen shot shows zebra and quagga mussel invasion as of 2006.

Nature Conservancy has produced some great interactive maps showing how invasive aquatic species have spread out across the country from their point of introduction.

Featured species include bighead and silver carp, zebra and quagga mussels, Eurasian ruffe, round goby, sea lamprey, and black carp.

Also, in late 2012, the organization released a report saying that aquatic invasive species “cost businesses and consumer in the Great Lakes region hundreds of millions of dollars annually in direct costs and even more from indirect costs related to removal, maintenance, and management of those species.

“Meanwhile, state and federal governments are currently forced to spend additional millions as they attempt to control the impacts and prevent the spread of AIS (aquatic invasive species).”

According to the report, the largest industry affected by AIS in the Great Lakes is tourism and recreation, which is responsible for employing more than 90,000 people in the region, generating $30.3 billion annually in revenue. Costs range from monitoring and controlling AIS to lost revenue from beach closings affecting hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.


Invasive Species Concerns Force Access Restrictions on Anglers

The failure of elected officials to protect our waters from aquatic invasive species is becoming more and more evident, not only in the damage done by these exotics but in restricted access for anglers and other boaters.

Here’s an example: Earlier this summer, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board unanimously approved an emergency order requiring all boats using its three public boat ramps to be inspected.

That in itself doesn’t restrict access. But the limited hours that inspectors will be at the launch sites does. For example, if you want to go fishing mid-day Monday through Thursday, you can’t. Or, if you do, you will get a ticket for violating the order.

See the full story here.

It’s certainly understandable that the city wants to prevent the spread of invasives such as mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil by hitchhiking on and in boats.

 But in bowing to special interests for decades, our state and federal governments unquestionably have caused this crisis. For example, they’ve allowed commercial shipping to introduce zebra and quagga mussels --- along with dozens of other species --- into the Great Lakes via ballast water from ocean-going ships.

They’ve allowed the exotic pet industry and plant nursery businesses to sell problematic species that now degrade our waters, including milfoil, hydrilla, water hyacinth, parrot feather, giant salvinia, and Brazilian elodea, among others.

And they’ve permitted fish farmers to bring in silver, bighead, black, and grass carp, which now infest the nation’s rivers and threaten sport fisheries.

Of course, that wasn’t the intent of any of these special interests. But shipping has opposed stricter standards for ballast water, while the others have insisted that they would be damaged economically if not allowed to import with few restrictions.

And officials have allowed these lobbies to mostly get what they want without consequences. Now, this irresponsible behavior is causing billions of dollars in damage to our country economically and environmentally, as well as forcing access restrictions on anglers and boaters to prevent further spread of this invasives.

Certainly, responsible fishermen and the fishing industry should help contain these invasions. Wisconsin provides an example of that, where bait shop owners are helping educate anglers about how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasives.

See the full story here.

Meanwhile, anglers and the industry also must be vigilant and active against those who will use concerns about invasives to advance an anti-fishing agenda.  Hints of that agenda show clearly in a recent article in the Pioner Press.

Check out these excerpts about how to keep Asian carp from spreading up the Mississippi River:

"Another option? Eliminate recreational boating from the lock and dams."

"Another suggestion is to limit fishing in Pool 2, to give native fish a chance to flourish before the carp arrive."




It's not a Carp Problem; It's a Government Problem


President Obama has just signed into law a ban on the importation of bighead carp into the United States. Isn't that nice?

When Congress passed the bill in late November, Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, said this: 

  “Along with other invasive Asian carp species, the bighead carp poses an immediate and significant threat to the nation’s freshwater fisheries, especially the Great Lakes. While normally we would list an injurious species under administrative rulemaking, the urgency of the situation called for swift action by Congress so that we can prevent this voracious fish from spreading to new areas and overwhelming recreational and commercial fisheries by effectively starving native fish.”

And, under the Lacey Act, silver carp were likewise banned in 2007.

The problem is that both species have been firmly entrenched in U.S. waters since the 1980s. And by the late 1990s, they were crowding out native species throughout the Mississippi River drainage. 

Today, they've either moved into the Great Lakes, or are about to. If they don't destroy the billion-dollar sport fishery there, it won't be because of any meaningful action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the rest of the federal government, electric barrier notwithstanding. It will be because  Asian carp did not find the Great Lakes to their liking.

As with so much many other "actions" the government takes on our behalf, this ban on bighead carp is more about appearance than it is reality. The same goes for the appointment of a "carp czar" by the President.

Along with all of the other invasive carp species --- silver, grass, common, and black --- bighead are here to stay. They will crowd our waters, they will out-compete native fishes for food, and they will alter our ecosystems in ways that, right now, we can't even imagine.