Humans have been known to introduce invasive species to help get rid of a certain animal or plant and their plan back fires. These introductions can also happen by species migrating into new areas or people emptying ballast water from their boats or even transporting goods to and from different places around the world (bottoms of shoes). The invasive species usually reproduces and takes over rapidly taking food from other species that need it in the area. They can also become new predators to other species.
The Bighead and Silver carp can average about 40-60 pounds in weight; although some have even been found to weigh as much as 100 pounds, and most average about 4 feet in length.
Asians consider carp to be a delicacy. Many believe that the small ponds became flooded in the 1990’s causing the carp to escape into the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers as well as other surrounding waters.
Most native fish eat plankton at some point in their life-cycle. Some even eat plankton their entire life. There is no hope for those small animals that survive off of the plankton that these large fish are eating at such a fast rate. The Lacey Act helps put an end to the trafficking of illegal species of animals and plants. Under the Lacey Act, people cannot import certain species without proper forms.
Silver carp get scared easily and have been known to jump up to 10 feet in the air. The loud sound from boat motors cause the fish to jump out of the water; sometimes landing in the boat. These large fish can end up damaging the boat or inflicting injuries to the people on board. Many people have reported getting black eyes, bruises, or even broken bones from the fish flying into their boats. When taking the speed of the boat into consideration; that makes for one powerful impact.
Some people are going to extreme measures to eradicate these fish. The carp’s behavior has led to a major fishing competition called the “Redneck Fishing Tournament”
They have recruited the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to aid in the building and maintenance of electric barriers across the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal was originally created to carry sewage from Lake Michigan along with using it for the city’s drinking water (Hill, 2000). However; this left an easy access path for invasive species to cross through to the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River (Rasmussen, et al., 2011). The electric barriers are used to scare the fish away by emitting electrical currents that get stronger the closer the fish gets. The electric current causes the fish to tense their muscles scaring the fish away. It does not cause the fish any harm. However; studies are currently being conducted to see whether or not these electric currents can cause any harm to humans who may fall off of a barge and land in the water. Many barge and boat operators argue that the barriers are not safe and are worried it may interfere with their jobs. These electric barriers may be expensive, somewhere in the 6 million dollar range; but the cost may be worth it. Due to the food sources and prefect spawning conditions, these carp may be able to strive in the Great Lakes causing damage to native fish (Rasmussen, et al, 2011). If the carp continue to head to these waters, they will cost millions more in trying to manage this aggressive species. The Great Lakes are home to many people who live on and work on these waters every day. Many are commercial fishers who will be severely affected by this misfortune. DNA samples of carp have been found in the Great Lakes, but no information confirms that these carp are reproducing (Rasmussen, et al., 2011)
They are said to be a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (good cholesterol) (Chapman, 2004). The only drawback to the fish Chapman states is that they are very boney. It takes a lot of work to remove the bones, but it is well worth it says Chapman. Through introducing carp with a new name, people are hoping they will help commercial fishermen make money while helping to eliminate the species from the rivers and lakes.
Asian Carp: An Invasive Species
Created by Holly O’Connell
• An invasive species is an animal, plant, or organism that has been either intentionally or accidently introduced into an ecosystem. This animal, plant, or organism is usually harmful to other species or the surrounding environment.
• In addition to introducing these carp into American fish markets, the Bighead and Silver carp were brought over to the United States from Asia in the 1970’s to help keep small commercial fishing ponds free from algae (Chapman, 2004).
• Due to the large • These filter feeders eat amounts the carp eat large amounts of (up to 40% of their body phytoplankton and weight each day); along zooplankton (Ochs et with their high al., 2010, p. 85). reproduction rates they are causing major • In 2007 silver carp were problems for native fish. placed on the invasive species list by the U.S. Department of the Interior under the Lacey Act
• This is held on the Illinois River and started by a lady named Betty DeFord. In order to eliminate the annoying fish, the contestants use nets to catch the carp as they jump out of the water. In its 7th year, 108 boats caught a total of 3,289 carp
• One of the biggest concerns is keeping the invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.• Government involvement: create electric barriers to keep the fish from crossing into the Great Lakes.
• People are starting to sell dishes in restaurants calling it “Kentucky Tuna.”• The fish is said to taste like a cross between crab meat and scallops.• Carp is a delicacy in Asia. It was sent over here years ago to encourage Americans to eat the fish; however, many people don’t like the taste of bottom-sucker-fish.
• Chapman, Duane (2004). "Carp lemonade: Making the Best out of Some Big-headed Invaders."• Missouri Conservationist Online. Retrieved from• http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2004/07/carplemonade• Crossett, Larry (2010). "Redneck Fishing Tournament draws crowds", GateHouse News• Service. Pekin Times.com Retrieved from• http://www.pekintimes.com/news/x979354009/Redneck-Fishing-Tournament-draws-crowds• Guy, Christopher S. “Age, growth, and gonadal characteristics of adult bighead carp,• Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, in the lower Missouri River.” Environmental Biology of• Fishes, v. 64 issue 4, 2002, p. 443-450.• Hill, L., 2000. The Chicago River: a Natural and Unnatural History. Lake Claremont Press,• Chicago.• Li HW, Moyle PB (1993) Management of introduced fishes. In: Kohler CC, Hubert WA (eds)• Inland fisheries management in North America. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda• Ochs, Clifford; Hoover, Jan Jeffrey. “Observations of Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys• molitrix) Planktivory in a Floodplain Lake of the Lower Mississippi River Basin.”• Journal of Freshwater Ecology, v. 25 issue 1, 2010, p. 85-93.• Rasmussen, Jerry L.; Regier, Henry A.; Sparks, Richard E.; Taylor, William W. “Dividing the• waters: The case for hydrologic separation of the North American Great Lakes and• Mississippi River Basins.” Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 37 issue 3, 2011, p. 588• 592.• Steiner, Christopher. “Lucky Catch.” Forbes, v. 178 issue 5, 2006, p. 83-84.• Varble, K.A., J.J. Hoover, S.G. George, C.E. Murphy, and K.J. Killgore. 2007. Floodplain• wetlands as nurseries for silver carp, Hjpophthalmicthys molitrix: a conceptual• model for use in managing local popuIations. Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program Technical Notes Collection, Vicksburg, Mississippi: U.S. Army Engineer• Research and Development Center.• Weber, Michael J.; Hennen, Matthew J.; Brown, Michael L. “Simulated Population Responses of• Common Carp to Commercial Exploitation.” North American Journal of Fisheries• Management, v. 31 issue 2, 2011, p. 269-279.• Wikipedia. (n.d.) Retrieved March 14, 2012 from• Wikipedia.com: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_carp• Video courtesy of youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc0kYOB0Mfs