Invasion of the Asian Carp

Recently updated on November 4th, 2022 at 03:22 am

Invasion of the Asian Carp
Invasion of the Asian Carp

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The Plague of the Asian Carp: Preface

The Plague of the Asian Carp – In America, the Asian carp is a real scourge on the environment and the economy. That’s why this carp is a real wolverine and has no natural enemies. The fish also reproduce very quickly and pose a threat to the other native fish species.

On the other hand, it was the Americans themselves who introduced the Asian carp into nature to combat algae growth. At that time, they did not know what the impact of this action would be.

In this way, America spread about ten species of Asian carp.

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The Plague of the Asian Carp – Leaping carp

Among the 10 aforementioned carp species, there is a very remarkable one: the Silver Carp. This species is very quickly afraid of boats. In doing so, they can jump up to 8-10 ft. high. As a result, however, there are also many accidents to detect. Water sports enthusiasts who collided with such a fish were seriously injured.

Imagine that you are water skiing and suddenly such a colossus of a carp flies in your face … Fun is different … The comparable big-headed carp sometimes dare to jump, but not because they are afraid. There are already tournaments where catching jumping carp with a net is a part of the competition.

Leaping Asian Carp - 1
Leaping Asian Carp – 1
Leaping Asian Carp - 2
Leaping Asian Carp – 2

The Plague of the Asian Carp – Damage from Asian carp

The Americans consider the Asian Carp an invasive species. Because they cause a lot of damage through their diet. For example, a black carp will look for native mussels and snails, whose populations are already in danger. Silver carp will in turn “steal” the plankton that is food for larval fish and native mussels. And finally, in a brand new environment, grass carp can completely change the communities of plants, fish, and invertebrates by attacking the food webs.

The American Illinois River is also dominated by Asian carp. They are trying with all their might to combat this domination. There has even been an argument where Michigan goes to brawl with Illinois over the Chicago passage. Michigan would like to close it down to prevent the ravenous Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan and devouring it. However, the closure would have major consequences.

People must stop the advance of Asian carp as soon as possible. Otherwise many lakes will fall victim. This would have major consequences for today’s fisheries and the economy in general.

American rowers were recently attacked by some “flying carp”. They made a video about it. In this case, the paddles startle the silver carp, causing them to jump. Outboard motors also have the same effect on these carp. The United States is anxiously wondering what to do about these carp species that disrupt their entire ecosystem.

jumping carp
The rowing team at Washington University in St. Louis is shocked by jumping carp

The Plague of the Asian Carp – Kentucky

In the American state of Kentucky, the environment is very threatened by the very numerous Asian carp. Experienced technicians have designed a “shock boat” to fight these wolverines. The fish jump out via electric shocks in the water and may or may not end up in the boat or a net. Afterward, the boatmen remove all stunned fish from the water and sell them on to fish processing companies.

For years, America has spent millions of dollars fighting Asian carp, but with little success. As a drastic measure, it was only possible to close the river and canal passages, but that was problematic for inland shipping.

Furthermore, caught fish is also used for the production of fishing bait, food products, and fertilizers.

They are also working on experimental ‘bio-acoustic’ fish fencing. The hope is that light, sound, and air bubbles will lead the fish away from the locks. This prevents them from ending up in nearby lakes. Until now this method was only used for salmon, but now it is also used for carp. Kentucky hopes with this method for a significant decrease in the number of Asian carp.

Many animal lovers express their displeasure with the use of this electric shock boat, but they do not think about future problems. Therefore, It is more than justified to act against this invasion.

Interesting links about carp:

Other species

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

The carp, is one of several fish species classified in the genus Cyprinus in the family Cyprinidae, but most commonly and narrowly, the common or European carp (Cyprinus carpio) and its close relatives within the genus Cyprinus.

Carp is a tough greenish-brown fish. It is native to Eurasia but has spread to North America and other parts of the world. The carp, a large-scaled fish with two barbels on each side of its upper jaw, lives alone or in small schools in weedy mud-bottomed ponds, lakes, and rivers.

It is omnivorous, and in its search for food, it frequently roils the water, increasing turbidity and harming many plants and animals. As a result, people want to go to great lengths to exterminate the animal.

The common carp can grow up to 120 cm long. You recognize this animal by his 4 beard strands, 2 short ones on the upper lip and 2 long ones in the corners of the mouth. The characteristic of this carp is the long dorsal fin with very strong rays. This carp can easily live to be 30 to 40 years old.

Common Carp
Common Carp

Carp are frequently raised for food, particularly in Europe and Asia, because they can produce a large number of fish per acre. The mirror carp (with a few large scales) and the leather carp are two domesticated varieties (almost scaleless). The crucian carp (Carassius carassius) is a European relative of the goldfish that lacks barbel.

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During the middle of the nineteenth century, the people of North America introduced the common carp as a sport fish and food fish. They farmed it by private interests as well as state and federal fish-and-game authorities in the United States (see also aquaculture).

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The common carp spread quickly throughout North American waterways. By the 20th century, people considered the fish invasive because it competed with native species for food and living space and uprooted aquatic vegetation, clouding rivers, and lakes.

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During the winter, the common carp stops moving, goes to the bottom of the water, and stops eating.

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Most of the time, it spawns in the spring, when the female lays many eggs on plants or other debris, usually in shallow water. After four to eight days, the eggs start to hatch.

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Carp grow quickly, become sexually mature around their third year, and can live for more than 40 years in a tank. On average, they are about 35 cm (14 inches) long, but they can grow to be more than 100 cm (39 inches) long and 22 kg in weight (49 pounds).

Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idell) (The Plague of the Asian Carp)

Furthermore, this fish grows up to 120 cm in length and can only reproduce at high water temperatures. So, they are especially popular in colder countries where they can keep algae from growing in different bodies of water without making other fish less likely to live there.

If you have a grass carp on the fishing line you will also notice that it is much stronger than the common carp of the same weight. In many countries, it is mandatory to put this type of carp back because of its special functionality.

Adult Grass Carp
Adult Grass Carp

Mud carp (Cirrhinus molitorella)

This is a native Asian freshwater fish that lives in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. To reproduce, they go to the upper reaches of large rivers.

Mud Carp
Mud Carp

Amur carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus)

Another name for koi carp and so-called after the Amur River in Northern China.

Amur Carp
Amur Carp

Koi (Cyprinus carpio), also known as ornamental carp, koi carp, Nishikigoi, or Amur carp, is any of more than 100 ornamental types of carp. People keep them as pets in freshwater ponds indoors and outdoors, and this is because of their colorful body patterns.

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China and Japan raised the koi as food fish. But they are also important parts of Chinese and Japanese folk tales and paintings because they represent friendship, peace, luck, and hard work. The Japanese word for carp is koi, which sounds the same as the word for “affection.” Koi is short for Nishikigoi, which means “brocaded carp.”

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Koi are strong fish with big bodies. When they are fully grown, most koi are about 90 cm (about 36 inches) long and weigh about 16 kg (about 35 pounds).

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They are adaptable, cold-water fish that eat everything from algae and plants to insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Koi reach sexual maturity between the ages of three and six, with males reaching sexual maturity a little earlier than females.

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Females can lay tens of thousands of eggs at once when they spawn in the spring or summer. Fertilization of the eggs occurs outside the body, then they hatch four to seven days later. Koi usually live 30 to 40 years in the wild, but some have been kept as pets for nearly 70 years.

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The domestication of carp is very important to the history of koi. Carp were first kept as pets in China in the 4th century BCE, and in Japan in the 19th century. But the evolution of koi is still a mystery.

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Some scholars suggest ornamental koi come from wild koi in China’s freshwater zones and the Black, Aral, and Caspian seas.

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But studies of their genes show that people domesticated Amur carp (C. rubrofuscus), a species whose native range goes from the Amur River west to Mongolia and south through eastern China to Vietnam and Laos.

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Until the beginning of the 2010s, people renamed the Amur carp “C. carpio haematopterus”, which is a subspecies of the common carp. Researchers can’t agree on how to classify koi because the two species aren’t that far apart from each other.

Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)

Hence, you have a very rare carp that can turn really jet black. Because it is so rare, little is known about it … This carp owes its name to the Black Sea where it was first spotted and it loves to live in brackish freshwater.

Adult Black Carp
Adult Black Carp

Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)

Well known for its high jumps from the water (up to 3 m high). Possibly, this fish grows to a meter in length and a possible weight up to 20 kg.

Unique to this fish is its species (monotypic) and furthermore, the animal only reproduces in running water at 22°C.

Silver Carp
Silver Carp

Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

Also, the goldfish is a carp. They are omnivores and can grow up to 40 cm long. They reach an age of about 20 years. The largest known specimen was 47.4 cm long and weighed 1.8 kg. For this reason, the fish listed in the Guinness Book of Records as “Longest Goldfish” and named Bert.

Brown Goldfish
Brown Goldfish

The goldfish is brownish-green or gray in color by nature. The species, on the other hand, is very different, and many strange things happen. A deviant fish might be black, spotted, golden, white, or white with silver.

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It might also have a tail fin with three lobes or eyes that stick out. People made over 125 breeds of goldfish by picking out and breeding odd ones for hundreds of years. These include the common comet, the veil tail, which has a three-lobed, flowing tail, the lion head, which has a swollen “hood” on its head, and the celestial, which has eyes that stick out and look up.

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The goldfish eats both plants and small animals, so it is omnivorous. In captivity, it eats small crustaceans well and can also eat chopped mosquito larvae, cereal, and other foods.

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The eggs hatch in the spring or summer. As the season gets closer, the colors get brighter, the female’s belly gets bigger, and the male might get tiny bumps on his gill covers, back, and pectoral fins.

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The eggs stay on water plants for about a week until they hatch. People have had goldfish as pets for as long as 25 years, but that is not the norm.

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The goldfish became a native species in many places in the eastern U.S. because it has escaped from parks and garden pools. When it goes back to living in the wild, it changes back to its original color and can grow from being about 2–4 inches long in an aquarium to up to 30 centimeters long.

Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis):

This is an exotic fish that, like the silver carp, likes open water and eats floating algae. But this fish also likes water flea. The animal grows up to 112 cm long and has a maximum weight of 21 kg. Initially, this carp was most common in the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) but can also be found in the Mississippi.

Bighead Carp
Bighead Carp

Because bighead carp is a good food fish, it has been shipped from its home country of China to more than 70 other countries, where it has always gotten away or been released on purpose into the wild.

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Today, you can find wild bighead carp in Europe, South America, and North America. It has also been brought to lakes in western China where it is not native, as well as to most of the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and most of Southeast Asia).

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Bighead carp are not always thought of as unwanted, invasive species when they are moved outside of their native range, and they are still put in some bodies of water to help commercial fishing.

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When people introduced the bighead carp or silver carp, the total number of fish that anglers catch usually goes up. However, the catch of native and sometimes more valuable fish can go down.

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Communities try to stop the spread of the bighead carp, which is very bad for the environment. People cannot bring or keep Bighead carp in New York, but they can still be sold legally in live food markets in New York City (but they must be killed before they leave the premises).

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Since 2005, it has been against the law in Illinois to have a live bighead carp. Since February 2007, it has been against the law in Missouri to use LIVE bighead carp as bait for fishing. In December 2010, the U.S. Congress stopped letting people bring bighead carp into the country.

Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)

This is one of the smaller carp. With its maximum length of 64cm and a weight of 3 kg, it originates in the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). In smaller inland waters, this fish is on average 9 cm long and weighs 20 grams.

Crucian Carp
Crucian Carp

Nine of these varieties are grown in China. They have been doing this for over 1000 years, and through aquaculture. Only the Great Silver Carp, which is a more southern species, comes from Vietnam and is farmed there. Of all these fish, China has designated 4 as intended for food.

These are the Bighead, Silver, Grass, and Black carp. They are also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The goldfish are mainly bred as pet fish. The common carp is sometimes called the “Eurasian” carp because it originates from both Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Finally

Maybe this article is a bit too negative about the Asian carp, but as you can see from what I have described here, a solution is urgently needed. I, therefore, ask real animal lovers: would you rather have just one fish in the future or would you stick to the current diversity of these animals? Fortunately, this only applies to the warm waters where these carp breed.

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