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Silver and Largescale Silver Carp Subject of Proposed Rule
Date Posted: September 5, 2006Importation and interstate transport of live silver and largescale silver carp would be banned under a proposed rule published in today's Federal Register by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A petition to the Service signed by 25 Members of Congress outlined impacts of silver carp to humans and native species in waters of the United States. The proposed rule - advanced under the injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey Act - addresses these concerns.
Silver carp, native to Asia, were introduced in the United States in the early 1970s for use as algae control agents in sewage lagoons and fishery production ponds, but escaped into surrounding waters. The carp have established themselves in the Mississippi River Basin but are not currently cultured in the U.S.. Silver carp are difficult to handle and transport because of their tendency to jump: growing up to three feet long and 60 pounds in weight, silver carp have leaped into moving boats injuring people and damaging equipment.
Biologists are concerned the silver carp could spread throughout the U.S. and compete with native species for food and habitat. For example, the carp could threaten the multimillion-dollar Great Lakes fishery by competing with native fish for food.
Largescale silver carp, native to parts of China and Vietnam, are a distinct species related to the silver carp and warrant prohibition as well. While not yet known to be in the U.S., largescale silver carp could compete with native species for food and habitat and may hybridize with silver and bighead carp, both of which are already in U.S. waters.
Public comment on the proposal will remain open for 60 days. Documents are available at http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Issues/InvasiveSpecies.cfm, the web page for the Division of Environmental Quality. (See the Federal Register notice, for instructions and deadlines for public comments).