Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Kentucky ups battle against Asian carp with online auctions

Asian carp
(Photo by Josh Mogerman)
A new program aimed at reducing populations of the invasive Asian carp kicked off on Jan. 1 in far western Kentucky. The program, a first-of-its-kind partnership between the state and fish processing company Two Rivers Fisheries, will pay anglers for Asian carp and sell the catches in online auctions, Chris Yu reports for WPSD-TV in Paducah.

The first few weeks have been productive: about 80,000 pounds of carp were brought in the first week, and 60,000 pounds on the second week. Two Rivers' goal is "to bring in 5 million pounds of Asian carp this year, 8 million pounds in 2020, 10 million pounds in 2021, 15 million pounds in 2022, and 20 million pounds each in 2023 and 2024," Yu reports. "Collectively, the goal is to remove 78 million pounds of Asian carp from Kentucky waters in six years." Two Rivers sells much of its product in China.

Keeping Asian carp populations down is critical, since the voracious and fast-multiplying species is known for overwhelming ecosystems by eating the food other fish would normally eat and crowding out competitors in the watershed of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, such as the Tennessee River.

Yu reports that Two Rivers makes it easier for commercial fishers to offload their catches by offering three drop-off locations, including a collection boat on Lake Barkley, an impoundment of the Cumberland River, which flows into the Ohio River several miles downstream. Not too much farther, the Ohio flows into the Mississippi at Wickliffe, site of the Two Rivers processing plant.

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