Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will be hosting a fishing tournament in March, but it has a twist to it.

According to KYforward.com, Kentucky’s Carp Madness Tournament will be open to commercial anglers to spread awareness of the growing population of Asian carp in the state.

“We believe this is the first freshwater tournament for commercial anglers in the country,” said fisheries director Ron Brooks. “Commercial anglers are the most effective way to control Asian carp, so we thought that we’d make a competition out of the effort.”

Asian carp were are highly invasive and can spell disaster for native species who can’t compete with the bigger and more adaptable fish. They are also prolific breeders, and have long since moved on from the Mississippi River basin where they originally spread. See here for a diagram illustrating the spread of the Asian carp since 1975.

The tournament will be held in two of Kentucky’s larger and more well-known lakes. Anglers will hit the water with nets–as Asian carp are notoriously hard to catch efficiently with rod and reel–and the top five teams will be awarded a total of $20,000. The top prize is $10,000.

Organizers are holding the tournament just before the spawning season in hopes that the event will have a large impact on the next generation of carp.

Image courtesy Andy Whitcomb/Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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