New Kentucky program to combat Asian carp begins
According to WPSD News 6 a new Kentucky program has begun with a fish processing company near Wickliffe Kentucky. Two Rivers Fisheries has teamed up with the state of Kentucky to help fight the growing populations of Asian carp. These carp are prolific spawners with adults laying as many as a million eggs a year. The Kentucky Fish Center is a fish house that can hold as much as 400 tons of fish. The Asian carp will be auctioned off to the highest bidder with online auctions open to anyone across the country. For more check out the channel 6 article here.
ASIAN CARP BARRIER
Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, Senior Communications Coordinator, [email protected], 734-887-7119
Statement: National Wildlife Federation Supports Updated Plans to Stop Asian Carp
(November 20, 2018 – Ann Arbor, MI) — Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final draft plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The draft chief’s report of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam includes both structural and nonstructural measures. This includes an engineered lock fitted with an electric barrier, a bubble barrier, an acoustic barrier, and a flushing lock to stop aquatic invasive species like Asian carp, while maintaining navigation for shipping. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is located just south of Chicago and is a critical chokepoint to help stop Asian carp from continuing to swim closer to Lake Michigan. The estimated cost of the project is $777.8 million, up from an earlier estimate of $275 million. A previous draft of the plan included water jets in place of the bubble barrier.
A summary of the final plan is available here: https://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental-Protection-and-Restoration/GLMRIS-BrandonRoad/.
Asian carp include species of bighead, silver, black, and grass carp. After escaping from southern United States aquaculture facilities, they have spread rapidly. They have reduced native fish populations in waters connected to the Mississippi River watershed. It connects to the Great Lakes watershed through the Chicago Area Waterway System. Asian carp pose a significant threat to our economy, outdoor heritage, and way of life. In addition, the invasive species is a clear and present danger to the Great Lakes sport-fishery, which is estimated to generate at least $7 billion each year in economic activity.
Marc Smith, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center, issued the following statement in response to the release of the updated plan:
“Across the country, Asian carp are undermining our nation’s fisheries and threaten the Great Lakes $7 billion annual sport-fishery. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to rebuild the Brandon Road Lock and Dam south of Chicago. This is our opportunity to put stronger measures in place to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The plan includes a gauntlet of technologies to prevent Asian carp from moving past the lock. While maintaining navigation for shipping. The investment in this project pales in comparison to the economic risk if Asian carp invade the Great Lakes. We intend to review the updates to the plan in detail and offer official public comment later, but at first glance this looks like the plan we need to protect our waters, our fisheries, our sport-fishing economy and our way of life.”
MY TAKE ON THE SITUATION
While I am not an authority on the effects asian carp have on our lakes mine being Kentucky Lake I am a concerned angler like so many of you. It seems like instead of boat ramp greetings with a smile and “how many did you get?” or “did you leave me any?” the conversation always seems to go straight to asian carp and how they have ruined the lake. The first thing people ask me on Facebook when they are coming to Kentucky Lake is “what about those asian carp?”
I remain optimistic (hopeful and confident about the future) when it comes to Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake. Not because I know, but because I’m hopeful that the lake my wife and I chose to settle on will be fine. I do have one thing going for me and that is while I have fished the lakes off and on for 25 years and it was always good to me I wasn’t here day in and day out to feel the decline as bad as those that were. I’m still hopeful that things will get better.
COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN’S VIEW OF THE ASIAN CARP
I spoke with a commercial fisherman at a boat ramp at Barkley Lake. He was very informative as far as the commercial fisherman’s view. He told me it was all good and just give them some time and they would get the numbers of asian carp down. Now of course that’s from a guy making money as long as the carp flourish, but he told me that it is harder now to catch the carp than it was many years ago and is a sign that the numbers are going down. However, you can ask any angler out there and nearly all of them will say the numbers are definitely up.
I remain optimistic because I need to be to continue to enjoy these two great lakes that I call my home lakes. I’m also optimistic for all lakes. The confidence isn’t necessarily the plans to stop asian carp, but I’m still hopeful they can. My hope is that nature will find a way and the fish will eventually co-exist with the carp better than we do. This means eating new forage and maybe spawning deeper. Things like this takes time but I’m hopeful that it will happen. This means changing tactics in your pursuit of these fish. This takes time as well. While anglers figure out where the fish have gone the fish are figuring out where they want to be and recovering from the change and eventually we meet in the middle and boat ramp talk will be more smiles and “Hey. Did you leave me any?”
Wasn’t it just the winter of 2016 that people were saying “this is the best winter in many years” I know I went fishing Christmas morning and couldn’t get a parking spot at a nearby ramp I had to go to another ramp to put in. I also caught my personal best crappie that winter and my personal best bass that spring of 2017 so the confidence isn’t unfounded for me, but we will see.
Asian Carp Funding
Since 1946, Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been a consistent voice for our state’s wildlife. We work to ensure the concerns of outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen are represented by our state’s leaders. More and more, those concerns include the Asian carp and the fight to control them.
Asian carp have been spreading through our waters for years. They threaten Tennessee’s aquatic species, recreation, and economy. They reproduce rapidly, have no natural predators, and deplete food sources native fish rely on.
Any effective and long-term solution to plans to stop Asian carp must include these two elements.
- Blocking them with special barriers to stop movement between waterways.
- Getting commercial tackle in the water to remove large amounts of the invasive species.
The scale of the solution to this massive problem is so large it will require millions of dollars. Securing state and federal government funding is likely the only way to make it possible.
Such an investment protects recreational fishing in Tennessee. Recreational fishing generates $1.2 billion in economic impact, $112 million in state and local tax revenue, and $149 million in federal tax income. In 2018, the Federation’s focus turned to building support for a federal funding solution.
We organized a monthly, multi-state Asian carp strategy call. Staffers in congress, conservation groups, and fisheries and experts in policy weighed in on ways to combat Asian carp.
From this call, a plan for securing federal funding formed.
The Federation along with partner legislators—particularly Representative David Kustoff and Senators Alexander, McConnell, and Shelby—coordinated an effort to secure a federal appropriation that would fund block and tackle efforts in six states.
This September, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that includes $25 million—a $14 million increase—of critically-needed funding for the plans to stop Asian carp management across the Southeast.
If passed in the Senate as part of the federal budget this fall, Tennessee will have the resources and tools to dramatically push back Asian carp numbers.
The fight is far from over, but we are getting closer and closer to a bigtime solution to the enormous problem of Asian carp.
To learn more about Asian carp and how you can join the fight, visit tnwf.org/asian-carp