Good Question: How Did The Asian Carp Get Here?

COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — You have probably seen the video by now: Invasive Asian carp that jump out of the water.

Now, DNA results taken near the Coon Rapids Dam show they may be heading up river towards Lake Mille Lacs. Nineteen of 48 water tests taken near the dam have come back positive for leaping Asian carp DNA.

“We don’t know how they will do in our waters and frankly we don’t want to find out,” said Steve Hirsch of the DNR.

Hirsch is the water resources director for the DNR. He said when it comes to leaping silver carp we may have created a monster.

“They were originally imported into the United State into some of the southern states for us in private, aquaculture ponds to clean out algae,” said Hirsch.

Because of flooding in the late ’70s and early ’80s, they got out and into the Mississippi River. They’ve been marching upstream ever since, and now they are on our doorstep.

Asian carp are big, voracious fish that feed at the low-end of the food chain. They eat all the plankton other fish might eat.

“They could affect any of the native species we have in our fish population- including our popular game fish like walleye and northern pike,” said Hirsch.

So what is stopping them from taking over? If the carp get pass the Coon Rapids dam, they can hook up with the Rum River, where only one dam separates them from popular Lake Mille Lacs.

“There is a dam on the Rum River, but it is not a very effective fish barrier. So during high water they could get by there,” said Hirsch.

Hirsch said the good news is the Coon Rapids dam is an effective fish barrier. The St. Anthony Falls lock and dam could also be shut down, but such a move would require an act of Congress. There is genuine concern, but not enough to panic.

“We are still fairly sure the numbers are low and that we are in the early stages of what could become a bigger problem,” said Hirsch.

Additional DNA samples will be coming in from north of the St. Croix River. Hirsch said if they get positive hits there, then it will cause them to try and figure out if there are any other fish that may be causing these positive hits.

Some of the positive DNA results that recently showed up were collected beyond the Coon Rapids Dam, so the fish could be bypassing it already.

More from John Lauritsen
  • Swamp Fox

    Let’s stop be reactive to this forthcoming menace. Let’s start being proactive to prevent this invasive menace physically from reaching our native habitats and waters. No more procrastinating just do it!

    The invasive carp, physically, have reached the interiors of South Dakota, Missouri, and nearby Wisconsin. Its range increases daily. Let’s not wait or procrastinate further, let’s stop this menace.

    Let’s not forget these fish can be a food source[the original reason why they were brought to the US], fertilizer, and possible energy source. Isn’t time we apply American ingenuity and know-how to fix this Carp problem before it devastates the American fisheries Eco-system?

    • Richard in Minneapolis

      “Just do it!” Just do exactly what? What solution are you proposing? Talk is cheap.

      • Swamp Fox

        Fish the carp for food. Fish the carp for fertilizer. Fish the carp for bio-mass fuels and related research. Find ways to eradicate this menace ASAP.

        Yes, talk and criticisms are cheap when you dump them on someone else. What solutions do you have to stop these invasive carp from creating an ecological disaster that ruin our fisheries? Let’s hear it!

  • » Blog Archive » Good Question: How Did The Asian Carp Get Here?

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  • Larry F.

    This is a great example of how “green” ideals of not touching the world with “scars” like dams is a fatalistic approach to the world. It’s a paradox. Maybe the West’s fisheries would be better without dams, we should destroy them all and let Mother Nature run her course (erasing clean, green, power) and have free flowing rivers and streams. Maybe we should do that along the Mississippi drainage. Hello floods and jumping fish. Maybe we should be pleased with earlier generations putting condoms on our waterways. Condoms aren’t 100% effective but they’re better than nothing. Though I’ll never let them be used in any of my videos.

    • ????

      What’s in the tea you been imbibing?

  • MinnesoFa-man

    Put a bounty on them and then sell them to the China where they are a delicacy. Soon every feckless layabout will line the waters edge reeling in the bonanza. Unemployment? SOLVED! Balance of payments? ELIMINATED! Deficit? Who cares, I’ve gone fishin. Next, MNDNR imposes fees and limits. Boooooooo!!!!!

  • rocky

    wait a minet, didn’t he say the conrap dam was a effective barries, then he says they could allready be past the dam….DAAAAA.. truth is they can’t stop the things, and they don’t know where they are and arn’t……and the US gov. brought them to the us… what a bunch of sht…what a mess, and the tax payer pays again…………..

  • rocky

    buy the way . ppl……. this fish can NOT be caught on a hook and sinker, it will not bit… feeds on platen (spel?) only way to catch it is by net…….

  • Mark Trail

    Species come and go. Trying to control them can only do harm.

    How did sunfish, perch, bass, bullheads, etc. spread among all the unconnected fresh water lakes?

    This is just nature, survival of the fittest.

    The DNA is out of control. They need their budget slashed by at least 50 percent.

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