About the Asian Carp
There are species of carp that are cultivated in Asia. They were imported. The term “Asian carp” usually refers to the grass, black, silver, and bighead carps.
Asian carp are a threat to biodiversity since they are a threat to other native species. In July, 2007, all silver carp and large scale silver carp were declared by the U.S. Department of the Interior to be invasive species under the Lacey Act. Asian carp are invasive because of their large size, the huge amount of food they consume, and their rapid rate of reproduction. These fish are a danger to the biodiversity of the entire Great Lakes Ecosystem of the United States.
There has been a huge rise in population for the bighead and silver carps where they are living in the Mississippi River basin (United States). Bighead, silver, and grass carp have been captured in a watershed from Louisiana to South Dakota, Minnesota, and Ohio.
This has caused a great concern because of the chance of competing with native species. Only two (crucian and black carp) are not known to be firmly established.
In Canada there are no Asian carp known to be established. People have caught a few bighead and grass carp though.
Silver carp have been known to jump high into the air when they are frightened by boats. They can weigh up to 40 pounds. This has caused injuries.
What We’re Doing
In the state of Illinois in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has completed the construction of an electrical fish barrier. It is a demonstration project to study the effectiveness of preventing species migration between the river and the lake.
The Illinois Natural History Survey is actively monitoring the effectiveness of the barrier. They tracked 100 common carp. Out of the 100, only one went through the barrier. It probably was the result of the turbulence caused by a passing barge.