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Columbia Biologists Attend Asian Carp Symposium in Peoria, Illinois
Midwest Region, August 22, 2006
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Columbia FRO biologists Andrew Starostka and Andrew Plauck recently traveled to Peoria, Illinois, to attend the Asian Carp Symposium.  This conference was the first of its kind in dealing with these invasive species. 

 

The presentations given during the two-day symposium dealt with a variety of topics related to theses species and included all life history aspects of the silver, bighead, black and grass carps, techniques used to monitor and control them, and economic issues . 

 

Presenters included graduate students, professors, fish managers and biologists.  Guest speaker Dr. Zhitang Yu traveled from China to share some of his knowledge which he has collected during his career on the Yangtze River Zhitang has conducted research on Asian carp for over 40 years and is considered to be the world expert on theses species.  He noted that, in their native range, the four carp species are actually in decline due to habitat degradation and overfishing where they are considered a desirable food fish.  This observation may provide insight into potential markets for these fish and a way to provide jobs and control the currently rampant populations.

 

The symposium included a boat trip aboard the “Spirit of Peoria” (a stern wheel paddleboat) on the Illinois River.  During the boat trip, local biologists in smaller boats chased up some of the famous “jumping carp” (silver carp) on the river for attendees to see firsthand the abundance of these fish and the hazard they pose to boaters and other river users where they are found.

 

Columbia fishery biologists are in the process of developing fishing gear that will collect large quantities of Asian carp (mainly bighead and silver carp) in the Missouri River.  Design of new gears, as well as learning techniques from experts in the field, will allow biologists to monitor feral populations of these exotic species. 

 

Since no one knows exactly how many of these fish inhabit our river systems, it is important that we effectively sample and describe their population while we are trying to reduce their numbers. 

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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