Originally from Southeast Asia, cyprinid fishes are collectively known as Asian carp. There are numerous species of Asian carp, nine of which have been substantially introduced outside their native ranges. Tolerating a wide range of water quality and weather conditions, they are fast-growing, aggressive and highly adaptable. In the U.S., Asian carp are considered both “non-native” and “invasive“.
Why are they considered invasive? In short, Asian carp often outcompete native fish species for food and habitat and disrupt food webs in their new environments by removing native vegetation, invertebrates, and fish. They are filter-feeders and can consume up to 20% of their bodyweight per day. Some Asian carp can grow to over 100 lbs. The fact that they have no natural predators in North America and that females can lay about half a million eggs each time they spawn is a recipe for excess.
To better manage fisheries resources, researchers are working to better understand the responses of Asian carp. Using HTI acoustic tags they are able to monitor fine-scale 3D tracks for each tagged fish. In California and Illinois, two study examples include behavioral deterrent testing with very different approaches: CO2-infused water and a seismic water gun to create fish barriers. Both approaches were designed to help control the movement and behavior of Asian carp in the U.S.
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