My sister got nailed by one of these fish during an evening boat cruise somewhere along the Mississippi River in Illinois many years ago. She took a direct hit in the face by a fully grown silver carp and, was lucky to not be knocked off the boat into the prop as the 50-pound flying carp nearly knocked her out cold. She needed some stitches to close a gash above her lips and came away from the incident with one heck of a fish story.
Silver carp are among several Asian carp species that have been invading North American waterways and destroying native ecosystems for decades. Injuries like my sister’s are not uncommon according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which along with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a host of other agencies including Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources have been doing their part to keep these invasive species’ out our Great Lakes.
Since escaping a Mississippi River fish farm that flooded in the early ’90s, Asian carp have continued to swim north. Everything from electric barriers and large-scale fish culling with toxic chemicals to permanent lock closures and marketing efforts (to sell these critters as foodfish at home and abroad) is being undertaken to keep them out with the Stop Asian Carp Act of 2011 being one the latest initiatives.
Despite evidence the largest source of freshwater on the planet has been breached by Asian carp, the fight must go on on all fronts. There are battles to be fought and ground to be won, and very little time left.
Everyone should be writing to their local U.S. Senators and Canadian Members of Parliament to help stop this ecological disaster from getting any bigger. The U.S. officially declared war on these pests in 2007 citing the Lacey Act of 1900. In the province of Ontario, it’s been illegal to posses live Asian carp since 2005.
It’s not too late to take up the fight and, if you’re brave enough to go fight on the front lines, the Peoria Carp Hunters want you!
Check out their latest YouTube video.