Asian carp spotted in Mid-State waters

Asian carp spotted in Mid-State waters (Image 1)

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 potentially injure boaters.

Bobby Wilson is the Chief of Fisheries for the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and told Nashville's News 2 the fish were recently spotted in the Stones River, Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake and the problem will likely only get worse.

“It was very bad news when anglers were catching them. We really don't want that species in our lakes and rivers here in Middle Tennessee,” Wilson said.

Asian carp are not native to Tennessee, or even the United States, and were imported from China in the 1980s for catfish farms in Arkansas.

Floodwaters 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 isn't much that can be done.

Asian carp spawn as many as three times a year, which only increase the population.

The TWRA is working to figure out a way to get the fish out of the Mid-State. Officials advise for anyone out fishing that catches one not to throw it back into the water.

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