Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Asian Carp: The Introduction You May Have Missed

While you have probably heard about the controversy and fears surrounding Asian carp, maybe you missed a bit of the background information. The term Asian carp actually accounts for four different types of fish according to the USDA: black carp, silver carp, the Bighead carp and grass carp. An article written by the California Academy of Sciences on these fish can be seen here.

These fish were originally introduced for the purpose of algae control, but then spread in an unintended manner. They can grow to over 20 feet long and 100 pounds, eating up to 40% of their weight a day in plankton. This causes a danger to the food chain, especially for the bottom of it. Asian carp are also know for jumping out of the water when they are scared or alarmed, which happens somewhat frequently in the presence of boats, since they feed near the water's surface. For a fish this size, unpredictable flight type movements have been known to injure boaters and fisherman. This video can help you get an idea of the movement of these fish.

For a suggested reading list on Great Lakes Fish, click here.

Asian Bighead carp photo by M. Spencer Green.