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CARP MADNESS TOURNAMENT RAISES AWARENESS
From Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department comes this news release after
the recent Carp Madness tournament: 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.
Volunteers stood watch and made sure any sportfish that were caught in the
nets were returned to the water safely. Asian carp, however, were hauled
aboard in droves.
“We were in them all day long,” said fisherman Barry Mann. “They were
still jumping around the boat when we had to leave. What we went for was
20,000 pounds. We were pleased with our weight.”
Mann’s team snagged the top prize of $10,000 with 28,670 pounds of carp.
“The 40 tons of carp removed during this tournament is not insignificant,
but this is only a drop in the proverbial bucket,” said Brooks. “The
results were as clear as is the message: We must employ the commercial
industry to remove Asian carp.”
To that end the department is calling for donations to help fund future
tournaments and carp-related projects.
“This problem was not manufactured by Kentuckians, but it is us who need
to attack it now, before the Asian carp cause insurmountable harm to our
aquatic resources,” Brooks urged.