Bad News Wisconsin, Watch out Minnesota
In March, a commercial fisherman found an invasive Silver Carp in his net in the St. Croix River. This fish was caught just outside of Prescott, Wisconsin marking it the first Silver Carp caught in the St. Croix river. If you don’t know much about the fish they are a YouTube star. They are the fish that jump several feet out of the water when startled often hitting people as they drive their boats. Along with harming boaters the fish devastates the native fish populations taking over entire stretches of river. Minnesota has reported several Carp in the lower Mississippi but none close to the Twin Cities. If they are moving into the St. Croix could this mean the fish are moving north?
How Did They Get Here?
The Silver Carp and several other types of filter feeder carp were brought over from Asia to help catfish farmers keep their ponds healthy. In the 1970’s, a large enough number of carp escaped into the Mississippi River to have a breeding population. They moved throughout most of the major rivers in the south leaving most of them overrun with these fish. They are filter feeder so they eat all of the microorganisms on the the bottom of the food chain causing the food chain itself to collapse. With the other fish struggling then the carp have even less competition.
How Can We Stop Them?
The St. Croix and the Mississippi both have natural boundaries that the DNR thinks will keep the fish at bay. The St. Croix has Taylors Falls and the Mississippi has multiple dams blocking travel. However the dams have locks used by boats that could also be used by Carp. To prevent this the DNR are experimenting with acoustic barriers to keep the fish from traveling through the locks. If you spot or catch any Silver Carp near the Twin Cities call 651-587-2781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official. Anyone can help the spread of these invasive fish. To learn more about the invasion of the Silver carp you can watch this documentary by VICE.