Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Asian carp are threatening fisheries and tourism in the Ohio River system; Pennsylvania fearful

Almost all coverage of the Asian-carp invasion of the Mississippi River system has focused on the threat to the Great Lakes, but there is growing alarm that the silver and bighead carp are damaging sport fisheries and endangering boaters and skiers in the Ohio River and tributaries, Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Western Kentucky commercial fisherman Ronny Hopkins told Patton, "It's a nightmare, it really is. Not just for fishing but for tourism. . . . They're taking over and killing our native fish." (Associated Press photo by Chris Young; Herald-Leader map; click on images for larger versions)
Patton notes, "Federal agencies have spent over $200 million in efforts — so far thought to be successful — to prevent the carp from getting into the Great Lakes. With the carp moving up the Ohio River, Pennsylvania is desperate to stop them from getting there and Kentucky is leading several multi-state efforts to deal with the problem. . . . Federal legislation, from Pennsylvania lawmakers, has been filed to address fish removal that could provide some money outside the Great Lakes efforts."

Many think the solution is commercializing the fish, first for animal feed, then for human consumption, "but there are objections," Patton writes. "Fish and wildlife experts are divided because they fear establishing a business built on this fish means they can never be completely eradicated and that creating a market will give people an incentive to spread the fish." (Read more)

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