The first confirmed bighead carp caught out of the Minnesota River could signal further push of invasive carp into new waterways.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that a bighead carp has been caught out of the Minnesota River. This marks the first of this type of Asian carp to be found in the river.
The 25-pound carp, pictured above, was caught last week by a commercial fisherman near New Ulm. Last December, a grass carp was caught by a fisherman at the same location.
“We have suspected that bighead carp have occasionally entered the Minnesota River from the Mississippi River, but this is the first confirmed capture,” said DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer in a press release. “This individual capture does not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp in the Minnesota River.”
With funding provided from the DNR researchers from the University of Minnesota are checking into building barriers to deter the carp from entering or spreading any further. They are currently doing floodplain analysis and habitat suitability studies. Their findings are due back to the DNR by no later than December 2017.
While Frohnauer was disappointed the carp was found he says, “these actions and others are still important and valuable in helping prevent the long-term spread of invasive carp across the state.”
Carp have become a serious issue in waterways since they were accidentally introduced to the Mississippi River back in the early 1970’s. Since that time they have slowly made their way into numerous lakes, rivers, and other waterways. They can destroy food chains, decimate native fish populations, and do other damage as they take over areas.
Invasive carp captures in Minnesota have to be reported to the DNR immediately at (651) 587-2781. They ask that you take a photo of the fish in question and if able transport it to the closest fisheries office, or at least make arrangements for the fish to be picked up by DNR officials. Carp are not to be released back into the waterway it was captured.