Asian carp: A fishing threat and how to help

AFTCO kicked off our efforts to battle Asian Carp with a $10,000 donation to Lyon County Industrial Development Authority. These funds removed an additional 250,000 pounds of carp through commercial fishing subsides.

What are Asian carp?

In the 1960s, four species of Asian carp were introduced into small ponds around the Midwest as a help to aquaculture. By the 1970s, many escaped and were released allowing them to enter river systems and lakes.

That is where it started.

What do Asian carp look like?

Three species of Asian carp are the most destructive in Kentucky. The bighead and silver carp are the filter feeders that filter out algae and plankton leaving nothing for other small baitfish to eat. The black carp feeds on bottom invertebrates like clams, mussels and worms leaving even less for other animals to eat. These three combined can spell disaster for any waterway that can’t figure out how to get rid of Asian carp. The last is the grass carp that can be found in almost every state in the U.S.

Where are Asian carp found?

Silver, grass, bighead and black carp combined span 45 of the 50 states leaving biologists baffled by this Asian carp invasion. The reason for their prolific spread is due to what they eat and how they reproduce. All four species eat “low on the food chain.” This means they eat plankton, algae and other species that an ecosystem depends on. When there is not enough plankton, the baitfish have less to eat which means the bass, walleye, trout, pike and other predatory fish become affected too. Combine this with their quick reproduction, and they can take over any waterway here unless we control the populations. This is why we should care about the presence of these carp in our waterways. AFTCO took the jump into freshwater conservation in 2018 and now we are contributing to the War on Carp.

War on Carp T-shirt

To help combat the carp invasion, AFTCO has teamed up with Mark Menendez and the War on Carp organization to create awareness and funds to help eradicate these fish. Aside from a $10,000 donation to the War on Carp organization, $5 from all funds made from the War on Carp T-shirt will be donated as well to the fight. Support the fight to stop the carp from taking over our lakes.

What can we do about Asian carp?

A short term solution is subsidizing commercial fishing efforts. That’s why AFTCO has donated $10,000 to the Lyon County Industrial Development Authority in Kentucky, with the guidance from AFTCO Pro Mark Menendez. Menendez has firsthand seen the effects theses carp have on the bass populations in Kentucky Lake and is a big advocate for the War on Carp organization and the movement to solve the carp problem.

But how can we stop Asian carp from invading our waters? We can all do our part to stop Asian carp from reaching all 50 states. Here are some tips to stop the spread of Asian carp.

  • Never move water or bait from one water body to another.
  • Never release fish from one water body to another.
  • Drain all the water from your boat including bilge, livewell and motor and wash off all gear before moving boat to another waterway.

If you think you have found an Asian carp, please call the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force at 1-877-STOP-ANS.