Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Net Guru Enlisted to Target Carp
Midwest Region, December 9, 2011
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Paupier net is deployed to capture carp.
Paupier net is deployed to capture carp. - Photo Credit: Heather Calkins
Tracy Hill assists Innovative Net System's Greg Faulkner mount new Paupier Net
Tracy Hill assists Innovative Net System's Greg Faulkner mount new Paupier Net - Photo Credit: Heather Calkins

Columbia FWCO hosted Innovative Net System’s owner Greg Faulkner for a full week of carp gear trials. We have been working with Greg for over ten years in our efforts to design trawls for the Missouri River. This was the third trip Greg (one of only ten “Master Trawl Builders” in the world) has taken to the midwest to consult with our office.

He has so far been instrumental in propelling our efforts forward by designing and building trawls for sturgeon sampling. We are now seeking to use his more than 25 years of experience in commercial and research fishing in the development of carp capture gears. Greg says it himself “…these nets are nothing new to the world, they’ve just never been used at this scale and in this part of the country”. In fact, we are having to go back in time where few commercial fishermen (now using hydraulics and diesel engines) remember having been.

Replacing horses with hands, winches with gloves and bulk with technique, we hope to introduce new materials and old techniques to the war on carp. In most developmental work, we live by the phrase “nothing ventured nothing gained” because the truth is nothing ever works the first time. This was true once again, in fact after one short trip to the river, we spent 2 days cutting and sewing for round two. After round 3 we had seen the future and have spent the last week building a new net and re-rigging our boat. We are never without a lack of respect for the savvy of the Asian carp.

With all it’s senses or at least its’ use of a sixth sense it has an incredible ability to evade capture, and anyone who has pursued these fish will tell you they learn quickly. We specifically tested the paupier net (AKA butterfly trap) which is similar to a shrimp skimmer operation. The idea being, if fish like to jump in your boat then put a big net off the sides of your boat and let them jump in the net. The concept worked! By using 8 ft. nets suspended off the sides of our boat and 150 horses, we chased down the carp with our nets despite their evasive manuvers.

We are now tweaking our mesh size to target the average size fish, beefing up our rigging to be able to handle large catches, and making our nets wider (12ft) to tackle open shallow water. We’ve got more tricks in our bag and will be working in the coming weeks with Carterville’s FWCO and their DIDSON sonar camera to evaluate the behavior of carp when they encounter other trial nets including a purse seine and lampara seine. If we understand how the fish react to a net (do they go deep or jump, do they scatter or school) we can build the net more effectively from the outset. With new markets coming available for Asian carp, we are hoping to quickly get these gears out to commercial fishermen and give them one more tool in their arsenal to remove these unwanted guests from our rivers.



Contact Info: Wyatt Doyle, (573)876-1911 ex 111, wyatt_doyle@fws.gov
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