Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tenn. officials fear Asian carp may breed in state

We've been following the attempts of Great Lakes states to thwart migration of Asian carp from the Mississippi River system, most recently here, but now one Southern state is voicing concerns about the invasive species. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says the carp have been spotted in the Cumberland River as far upstream as Cheatham Dam in Ashland City, upstream from Lake Barkley and downstream from Nashville, Anne Paine of The Tennessean reports. "Every year they just get thicker and thicker," Thomas Peach, a commercial catfish fisherman in Camden, Tenn., told Paine. "Each year they get further up the river. We're worried about what's going to happen to our fish — all fish. Not just commercial fish."

Tennessee officials are now trying to determine if the carp can spawn in state waters other than the Mississippi. One fisherman reported hauling in as much as 5,000 pounds of silver carp in a day from the northern portion of Kentucky Lake, which is part of the Tennessee River. "It's one thing to deal with migrants coming through locks. It's another thing if they get to Pickwick," the next Tennessee Valley Authority dam and lake upstream, Bill Reeves, chief of TWRA's fisheries division, told Paine. "If the numbers are there and the flow is there that creates the optimum conditions for spawning, they'll fill the lake up."

"Tennessee has a lot to lose, with $1 billion a year spent on sport fishing and about $3 million coming from commercial fishing. Plus the state, which is highly bio-diverse, has 315 fish, 120 mussel and 84 crawfish species to protect," Paine writes. Tennessee, like other states affected along the Mississippi River, is beginning to consider tactics to use the carp to its advantage, like selling them for food. The Tennessean also posted this 14-page presentation about Asian carp on its Web site. (Read more) The carp were brought to the south to control grass in fish-farm ponds and escaped during floods.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eat them.