Asian carp cause serious damage to the native fish populations in the lakes and rivers of the Mississippi River Basin by dominating the waterway and out-competing native fish species for food and space, pushing them out of their natural habitats or altogether eliminating them. Carp also lower water quality which has a dire effect on sensitive organisms like native fresh water mussels.
Silver carp are known to jump out of the water to escape the perceived threats when the water they inhabit is disturbed. This behavior is incredibly dangerous and can damage boats, destroy on board equipment, and poses a serious threat to human boaters and water sports enthusiasts. Jumping carp are known to have caused serious injuries, including broken bones, and even death.
It is estimated that the continued spread of these fish could cause over $15 billion dollars a year in damages to commercial and recreational outdoor sportsman industries throughout the Basin.
Silverfin™ Group, Inc. has put years of research into understanding the invasive Asian carp and how it effects the ecosystems of the waterways in which it inhabits. Make the jump below to learn more about asian carp in the United States and the ecological risks and overall impact this destructive fish has on the aquatic environment in the Mississippi River Basin.
There are over 1,481,000 miles of the Mississippi River Basin infested with Asian
carp. That’s about 5.5 tons carp per river mile (source: Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries). This does not include the Asian carp that have spread via the Intra-coastal Canal east and west of the Basin.
The Basin offers a variety of habitats which serve as spawning, recruitment, and maturation areas for Asian carp. From cool flowing waters for adult carp to warm, biologically productive backwaters for younger breeding carp, and even into the brackish waters of the Gulf Coast, Asian carp are abundant and prolific.
When infested waters are not rich in plankton, carp are known to feed on detritus and root in the bottom of protected embayments and wetlands. This disturbance is having significant impacts on the Basin’s wetland and shoreline vegetation which provide spawning habitats for native fish and breeding habitats for native waterfowl.