NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An invasive species of fish that can jump as high as 10 feet into the air has made its way into Middle Tennessee.
Asian, or Silver, carp have become notorious for being easily frightened by boats and personal watercraft, which causes them to leap high from the water and numerous boaters have been injured by them.
Bobby Wilson is the Assistant Chief of Fisheries with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and told News 2 the fish were recently spotted in the Cumberland River.
“Noticed them below Cheatham [County] and so they are probably in Cheatham too,” he said. “Any place that's got a lock that a barge or ship can go through or boat the fish can travel to so the Silver carp are going to go as far up stream as they can go.”
The carp are not native to Tennessee or even the United States.
Wilson said the fish were imported from China in the 1980s for catfish farms in Arkansas.
Flood waters in the 1990s washed the fish into the Mississippi River from where the fish have moved throughout the southeast and as far north as the southern edge of The Great Lakes.
In addition to injuring boaters, officials are concerned what the fish will do to the native fish in Tennessee's waters.
Wilson explained, “They compete with our native species because they feed on plankton and the species we have concern about are our plankton feeders like Paddlefish and Buffalo.”
As far as eradicating the fish, there seems to be very little that can be done.
Asian carp spawn as many as three times a year, which will only increase the population.