The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is seeking public input on a proposal to limit the spread of Asian carp in the state’s waterways. Anglers are invited to go online to fw.ky.gov to take a survey about proposed regulations regarding the movement of live Asian carp.
Ron Brooks, fisheries director for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, noted that several states are banning the movement of live Asian carp. “These fish are a major threat to Kentucky’s native aquatic ecosystems,” Brooks said. “We must stop their further spread.”
Asian carp, which include silver carp and bighead carp, can out-compete native fish for food. These invasive species also threaten Kentucky’s ecological systems, recreational boaters, anglers and the commercial and sport fishing industries. Asian carp multiply quickly and can adapt and live in almost any river or lake in Kentucky.
Asian carp now exist along the entire length of the Ohio River bordering Kentucky. They also are found in Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, the Kentucky River, the Salt River and many tributaries of these systems.
Asian carp can spread quickly if they are transported alive and are then used for food or live bait. Anglers who wrongly identify Asian carp as native shad or skipjack may unintentionally release these invaders into uninfected waters.
To reduce the potential for the unintentional spread of Asian carp, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife may propose a regulation that would restrict all movement of live Asian carp, regardless of how they are caught or collected.
In addition, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is considering a regulation that would restrict the movement of all live bait-fish from the water in which they are caught or collected to any other water body, because young Asian carp look like shad and could easily be introduced into new waters accidentally by anglers moving bait-fish from one body of water to another.
Results of the survey will be presented at the March 8 meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Image courtesy Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources