The Battle Against Asian Carp
After the turn of the century, North American habitats took a turn for the better. The focus on wildlife conservation helped bring animals such as whitetail deer and largemouth bass out of near extinction scenarios brought on by market hunting. While the efforts to restore these issues were successful, we face a new problem—invasive species. Plants, mammals, and reptiles are always in a constant battle for survival, which is even more challenging when a new species with no natural predators are introduced into a new area. Depleted resources and habitat degradation are just a couple of factors invasive species can have on an ecosystem.
One of the most significant invasive species concerns in North America is Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Asian carp have taken hold of these two fisheries and made them their own. Not only are these fish destroying plant life and consuming much of the resources, but they are also injuring boaters and fishermen alike by jumping out of the water when a boat approaches and flying into the occupants.
Luckily, efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp are at full steam. Long-term solutions are still being discussed and researched. Commercial fishing, shocking, and sane nets are only a few solutions that have been shown to have made any progress against these fish. The most promising long-term solution is an electromagnetic field placed near all of the dams to contain them. Stemming from the 'shocking' technique the fish and wildlife division uses, the electromagnetic net will provide safe passage for some native fish species but will shock large-scaled fish such as carp and sucker.
Once the containment technique is perfected and deemed adequate, the next step is to exterminate them. Gillnetting, shocking, and a bounty system will likely be made into effect. It seems like it will be easy to apply these practices at a glance, but they are quite expensive.
To fund these methods, it will need the help of the state and private sectors. The state fish and wildlife division that deals with Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley only allows a certain amount of money to work with, while private companies can use all the capital they want. Some companies have entered a market that buys and sells Asian carp for human and animal consumption. The demand for these fish has enticed many fishermen to target this species and sell them to local fish markets.
Another great way companies have promoted saving this habitat is by donations through sales. Companies such as Fisk Gear donate a percentage of the profits when a customer buys certain gear. Brands like Fisk Gear are calling on any outdoor brand that cares about wildlife to apply this practice to their business as well.
With the help of private companies, we will have a much better chance of getting rid of Asian carp. Anyone can help with this battle by simply buying a fishing license or purchasing items from brands that will donate to a cause.