MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says its mounting an aggressive and immediate response after more than 50 invasive carp were captured last weekend in the Mississippi River.

“This is the largest congregation of invasive carp we’ve seen this far upstream,” said DNR invasive carp field lead Ben Larson, in a statement.

Fifty-one of the invasive fish were netted by commercial anglers operating near La Crosse, Wisconsin. All of the fish were given to researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In response to the catch, the DNR says it’s working with multiple government agencies and commercial fishing operators to conduct large-scale netting in the area, increased monitoring and studies on captured fish.

According to the DNR, previous findings of invasive carp in the Mississippi have been small. The recent large finding is believed to be the result of prolonged high water last year due to heavy rains.

During high water, the gates at the locks and dams on the Mississippi are kept open so floodwaters can pass. However, these “open river” conditions also allow invasive carp to move upstream.

The DNR has been working to slow the spread of invasive carp in Minnesota since the early 2000s. The fish were first introduced to the United States in the 1970s as a means to control weeds and algae.

The carp escaped into the Mississippi River basin and gradually moved upstream in the following decades. According to officials, the carp threaten native fish as they outcompete them for food and space.

The DNR says that anyone who finds invasive carp in Minnesota wmust report the catch immediately by calling 651-587-2781 or by emailing invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us.

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