TWRA warns of Asian carp - WKRN News 2

TWRA warns of Asian carp

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The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency is warning boaters and fisherman about an invasive species of fish that can jump as high as 10 feet into the air

Asian, or Silver, carp have become notorious for being easily frightened by boats and personal watercraft, which causes them to leap high from the water.

There have been many reports of the fish, some weighing as much as 40 pounds, jumping into boats and hitting skiers.

"They're in Nashville in Cheatham Lake which is really the Cumberland River that goes through downtown. That's actually called Cheatham Reservoir," explained Bobby Wilson, Chief of Fisheries for the TWRA.  

According to Wilson, the fish have also been spotted in Old Hickory Lake and Drakes Creek.

"They're going through these locks and dams where the barges can go through and the boats can lock through, the fish will also lock through," Wilson said.

The TWRA recently posted signs near boat ramps instructing anyone who sees the fish to get them out of the water.

"Just bop them over the head or throw them on the bank or something like that. But don't let them go back into the water alive," Wilson said.

Asian carp are not native to Tennessee, or even the United States, and were imported from China in the 1980s for catfish farms in Arkansas.

Wilson said floods on the Mississippi River pushed the fish elsewhere.

"When the floods came back in the 80s, and 90s when the Mississippi River flooded, a lot of these ponds that are located in the Delta area the water flowed over the levees the fish escaped and that's how they got into the Mississippi River," he explained.

In addition to injuring boaters, officials are concerned what the fish will do to the native fish in Tennessee's waters because they feed on plankton like Tennessee's plankton feeders such as Paddlefish and Buffalo.

As far as eradicating the fish, there isn't much that can be done.

The U.S. government is encouraging people to eat the fish and Wilson said they are tasty and considered a delicacy in Asia.

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