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The Asian Carp Connection

September 4, 2013
By

By Chris Erwin

In the last few years there has been a lot of news about the Asian Carp and how destructive it is to our native fisheries. At a glance, they don’t appear too much different than any other fish. However, one must look into the reproduction rate and the rate of growth to see the real danger.

There are four species of Asian Carp — the black carp, bighead, grass carp and the sliver carp — but it is the sliver carp, the leaping sliver fin giant, that has been the subject of many articles because of its aerial display jumping into boats as they build to a top water frenzy.

The Sliver Carp can produce 2.2 million eggs per fish in one spawn. They grow rapidly consuming 20 percent of their body weight a day in plankton. They quickly over take native fish habitat growing to nearly 100 pounds. They can also be a hazard to boaters as they leap into moving boats when excited.

The race has been on to keep them out of the Great Lakes. Underwater fences and other precautions have been effective, but danger looms as many fisheries’ experts hold their breath hoping they have done enough.

Asian Carp were introduced to the United States as a management tool for aqua culture farms and sewage-treatment facilities. They made their way north in to the Illinois River after escaping from fish farms during massive flooding along the Mississippi River. Their numbers have exploded, and many fishery management experts have been struggling to come up with ways to control them.

Sliver Carp leaping out of the water as boat traffic spurs an aerial display. (Photo courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.)

Sliver Carp leaping out of the water as boat traffic spurs an aerial display. (Photo courtesy of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.)

I covered recent Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife tournaments where they tried to remove as many of these fish as they could from western Kentucky waters. While this was a success, it was only a drop in the bucket in reducing the population of these fish.

Today I’m happy to tell you about another ray of hope in the fight to control Asian Carp. It comes by way of a new company called Two Rivers Fisheries. It was established in 2013 and is located in Wickliffe, Ky. Two Rivers Fisheries processes and exports a variety of carp, including Yellow, Bighead, Silver, and Grass Carp. Professional fishermen are contracted to harvest the fish from the Mississippi and Ohio rivers as well as Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

I spoke to Angie Yu, president of Two Rivers Fisheries. Yu has been in the import and export business for 22 years and in the seafood business for over 15 years. She chose Wickliffe, Ky. as the location for Two Rivers Fisheries because of its proximity to the rivers.

On May 30, a ribbon cutting and grand opening was held, which was attended by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. Yu said, “We are off to a good start getting our first million-pound order from China. We will be shipping frozen carp and carp products internationally. This includes things like fish steaks, whole fish, fish heads, and fish paste.”

Two Rivers Fisheries held a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 30, to celebrate the opening of the . (Photo courtesy of Two Rivers Fisheries

Two Rivers Fisheries held a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 30, to celebrate the opening of the Wickliffe, Ky. business. (Photo courtesy of Two Rivers Fisheries)

“We plan on selling fresh fish at a market place for the Wickliffe, Ky. area and surrounding communities. We will not only sell fresh whole and processed carp, but also other fish brought in by our fishermen such as catfish. We hope to promote the viability of cooking with carp and will help to provide recipes for popular carp dishes,” Wu added.

While this may not be the answer to this invasive species, it is good news in an otherwise losing battle with the Asian Carp.

Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News. He can be reached by email at trimmer308@windstream.net

 

 

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