Reporting Susie Jones
WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) — A silver carp and a bighead carp were caught in a net last week in the Mississippi River near Winona. Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources says it’s the farthest upstream discovery made so far.
Steve Hirsch, DNR Eco-Waters Division director, says the non-native species can cause serious ecological problems as they spread into new waters.
Hirsch said the destructive fish are voracious eaters, capable of consuming 5 to 20 percent of their body weight each day. They feed on algae and other microscopic organisms.
“They can basically out-compete our native species at that low end of the food chain. Almost think about it like intercepting the food chain,” said Hirsch.
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Hirsch said it is part of a trend they have been seeing for some time. He said no established populations of bighead or Silver carp are known in Minnesota. However, individual Asian carp have been caught by commercial in recent years.
“It is discouraging,” he said.
Hirsch hopes that the discovery will prompt people to take action.
“You know we would like to see some kind of barrier at the Ford Dam, or the St Anthony Falls dam as well to slow down the upriver movement,” said Hirsch.
Bighead carp can weigh up to 110 pounds and Silver carp up to 60 pounds.