In July, officials with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) were notified of a threat to release Asian carp into the state’s waters. Numerous concerned citizens contacted wildlife officials after an ad posted on Craiglist detailed the release of Asian carp into at least one Montana lake, and the planned release of more. A subsequent investigation by the FWP and USFWS determined that the ad was just a mean-spirited hoax.
According to a copy of the ad obtained by KTVQ, the Craigslist posting showed a stock image of silver carp in addition to an offer of free carp to anybody who wanted them.
“We just got back from a fishing trip in Arkansas,” wrote the ad’s poster. “We had a blast watching these crazy fish jump all around the boat as we cruised around. I managed to net several buckets of the fry (babies) and used some for bait. I made it home with six buckets of them and many were still alive so I put two buckets of them in Hylite today and am going to put two in Canyon Ferry tomorrow. If anyone has a use for the other two buckets they are welcome to them!”
After a short investigation, FWP wardens and USFWS agents easily tracked down the man who made the posting.
“The [USFWS] said when faced with the gravity of the situation, he confessed to writing the post and admitted it was just a hoax,” FWP stated.
Just a joke, but not a funny one according to FWP. Asian carp are considered a highly invasive species and once established, can be very difficult to remove. Asian carp, such as the silver carp shown in the Craigslist ad, can out-compete native fish and push them out of certain waterways entirely. Due to this, anglers and conservationists are dedicated to reducing their spread as much as possible. FWP Region 3 supervisor Sam Sheppard said that while the department is relieved that the threat was just a prank, these kinds of acts are not joking matters. In finding the ad’s poster, wildlife agencies wasted time and resources that could be better spent somewhere else.
“I’m proud of our Enforcement team’s response and quick resolution to this case. It’s a testament to their dedication to protecting Montana’s resources,” Sheppard said.
FWP officials did not specifiy what enforcement actions, if any, were taken against the ad’s poster.
Image courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service