BEWARE OF FLYING CARP   Leave a comment

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Boating public on the upper mid-western rivers and some lakes are finding a new navigational danger, flying carp.

The Asian Silver Carp and Bighead Carp have become prolific in the Midwest will take to the air in response to noise such as that produced by outboard engines. They have experienced collisions with boaters, water skiers, anglers and operators of personal watercraft.  The accidents have resulted in damage to property and injuries to humans.

Carp often land in boats causing a mess with the excessive slime and blood from the fish getting all over the operator, his boat and equipment. The fish hemorrhage heavily when they strike solid objects.  Other damage occurs to windscreens.

The invaders escaped from fish farms in the south during the flood of 1993. They entered the Mississippi River that year and since then have moved upstream in virtually all of the rivers that drain into it.

They invade other lakes and ponds when anglers catching their own bait net some of the infant carp and transfer them. They look similar.

Bighead and silver carp are two of the four Asian carp species to invade our waters. The other two are the black carp and grass carp.  They should not be confused with the common carp, sometimes called Asian carp.

The bighead and silvers prey only on the smaller plankton, competing directly with game fish larvae. They strain their diet of plankton from the water using highly efficient long thin gill-rakers.  Being very efficient eaters, they could soon deprive the game fish of their food source.

These carp grow faster than any predators and as such have no natural enemy.

The grass carp were introduced to clean weed growth from ponds and as a food fish. Grass carp can clean out a body of water depriving game fish of a place to hide or spawn.

The black carp is an eater of mollusks and snails. As such he presents a danger to shell fish populations in rivers.  It is believed that all of them in this country are sterile but no one knows for sure.

Biologists are working with commercial fishermen in an attempt to encourage heavy catching of the fish as a way of maintaining population control. The effort centers on making it a food fish.  Anglers only catch them by snagging the fish.  The fish eat only items much smaller than a lure or bait.

We probably will never be able to eliminate the fish completely. The concentration now is on how to manage them.

 

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