Ever seen a 50 pound minnow? An Asian carp? Your chances of seeing them are getting better.
“Asian Carp” is a generic term for four different carp species, all in the minnow family, that are working their way up the Mississippi River. Several of these species pose a significant threat to the food webs of Minnesota lakes and streams.
Carp researcher, Peter Sorenson, states that the silver carp pose perhaps the greatest threat to our waterways and here is why. They feed by using their gill filaments to filter tiny aquatic creatures, collectively called plankton, from the water. Native paddle fish, tullibee (lake herring), and white fish also filter feed.
Should you be concerned? If you like to catch or eat walleyes, pike, bass, and other game fish, you should be. The extremely efficient removal of plankton by silver carp can leave precious little for those game fish we favor. Those fish were once tiny sac fry and fingerlings and the tiny plankton is their baby food. Without that food our game fish are in trouble.
Can silver carp be stopped? Too early to tell. The DNR faces an overwhelming challenge to do so. Though we may be able to slow their coming, totally stopping them is another matter.
The lesson? Beware releasing exotic species of any kind. You may regret it.
For more about carp go to the Freshwater Society website.
Question of the Week:
It looks like the MN DNR will be allocated $3 million of Outdoor Heritage Fund money (Legacy money) to control Asian Carp. What body produces recommendations to the MN legislature for how such funds for habitat are to be spent?
The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council