The Asian Carp Crisis

The Impact of Asian Carp
The Impact of Asian Carp

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.

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