Havana, Ill., is Ground Zero for the Asian carp invasion, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. On the Illinois River, it’s about 200 miles south of Lake Michigan and 120 miles north of the Mississippi.
“You find more carp per acre, per mile of river, tan nearly anyplace else in the world,” says Kevin Irons, DNR’s Asian carp program director.
If you doubt that, check out this video.
Based on electrofishing surveys, bighead and silver carp now account for about 60 percent of the fish biomass in that stretch of the river. That means native species have declined dramatically because the exotics outcompete them for food and habitat.
And peaceful boat rides are a thing of the past because of silver carp, which go airborne when startled.
“People have been hit and seriously injured,” says DNR’s Matt O’Hara. “I know there have been some cases of broken noses and jaws.
“Pretty distressing when you come out here and you’re looking for native fish, and all you see is invasive Asian carp,” he adds.