Two of Kentucky’s most important fishing spots–those used both commercially and for recreation–are under attack by a large number of Asian carp. The invasive species pose an economic threat to states across the country and even worse, disrupt native environments by consuming vast amounts of plankton. Visitors to Kentucky and Barkley lakes report sighting vast schools of the fish just below the surface.
“They grow large–a bighead carp caught in Missouri weighed 111 pounds–and breed prolifically,” said Ron Brooks, fisheries director for the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (DFWR). “Young sport fish like crappie and bass, and other plankton feeders such as paddlefish, shad, and buffalo, are being robbed of the food they need to thrive.”
Now the DFWR is fighting back, with a lot of help from commercial fishermen. The department is kicking off an increased focus on Asian carp with their Carp Madness Tournament, which took place last week on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Twenty-one commercial fishing teams from around the country enlisted to take on the invasive species. According to the department, the two-day tournament ended with nearly 83,000 pounds of Asian carp removed from the lakes.