Dear EarthTalk: What exactly are Asian carp and why are they such a big problem lately?– Lori Roudebush,
Seven species of carp native to Asia have been introduced into United States waters in recent decades, but it’s four in particular—bighead, black, grass and silver—that worry ecologists, biologists, fishers and policymakers alike.
Introduced in the southeast to help control weeds and parasites in aquaculture operations, these fish soon spread up the
Asian carp are hardy, lay hundreds of thousands of eggs at a time and spread into new habitat quickly and easily. To wit, they can jump over barriers such as low dams. Also, flooding has helped the fish expand into previously unattainable water bodies. And fishers using young carp as live bait have also facilitated the fish’s spread, as have boats going through locks up and down the
The federal government’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force considers the Asian carps to be nuisance species and encourages and supports “active control” by natural resources management agencies. Federal and state governments have spent millions in tax dollars accordingly to prevent the carp from making their way into the
Friends and neighbors of the
Regardless of whether the states can keep the
In the meantime, state and federal agencies are monitoring the
Credit: Josh Mogerman, courtesy Flickr
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