Mid-South lawmakers say carp threatening waterways

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Asian silver carp have invaded Mid-South waterways.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s a fish invading our waterways, putting boaters at risk.

We’re talking about the Asian carp.

Industry leaders, lawmakers and legendary angler Bill Dance met Monday to discuss the growing problem.

It’s a bizarre sight: Hundreds of silver carp jump into the air when a boat approaches.

Michael Butler, Chief Executive Officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, joined professional angler Bill Dance to discuss Asian Carp in the Mid-South.

“I don’t know if we’ve had a bigger threat to our rivers and streams, ever. I mean, short of the pollution that was here 40 or 50 years ago.”

“Being as prolific as they are, there’s just thousands and thousands of them. They’re moving. They’re moving constantly,” Dance said.

Dance is spoke to Congressman David Kustoff, who is running for re-election, on the bank of the Mississippi Monday.

Industry leaders are concerned about the threat the carp pose to the $2 billion fishing economy and nearly $3 billion boating economy.

A video shot by WREG in 1999 is some of the earliest video captured of the jumping carp.

Butler says the fish feed on the same food source as the other small fish, while reproducing and growing at a high rate. Because there’s so much carp, they could remove the food source from the ecosystem — thus, creating a chain effect.

Officials say some ways to combat the invasive species include putting up barriers and locks in the water and provide incentives to fishermen who catch them. But Butler says it also takes funding from federal and state agencies.

“It’s pretty simple, but you have to get aggressive. It takes money to do that,” he said.

There’s another meeting in Kentucky later this week regarding the carp that some wildlife officials plan to attend.

The meeting it located at the Lee S Jones Building at 311 Lee S Jones Park Road in Eddyville, KY 42038.

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