Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Asian Carp

Find up-to-date information on the efforts to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes at 

Introductions of Asian carps (bighead, black, grass, and silver carps) into waters of the United States are the result of combinations of:

  1. Direct stockings, or authorization to stock, by various agencies
  2. Unauthorized stockings by private individuals
  3. Unintentional escapes from university research facilities, federal and state agency facilities, and private aquaculture operations.  
    An Asian carp leaps out of the boat wake on the
    Illinois Waterway. Credit: Chris Young, State
    Journal Register

Bighead, grass and silver carps are self-sustaining in the wild, and risk is high for continued range expansion within the Mississippi River basin.  Although there is no evidence that self-sustaining populations of black carp are established, specimens were collected in several locations of the Mississippi River basin. Densities of Asian carps in parts of the Mississippi River basin are thought to be among the highest in the world.  In addition, Great Lakes fishery management agencies are highly concerned about the risk of Asian carps invading and becoming established there.  Based on expert opinion, establishment of Asian carp populations in the Great Lakes would result in reduction in abundance and rate of growth of ecologically and economically important fishes there.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to monitor and prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species within the region. La Crosse, WI Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has recruited partners including the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois DNR, and other fishery and ecological services offices to assist with sampling for Asian carp in the Illinois River, Illinois to the City of Chicago, Illinois ( view the poster). All fishery resources offices within the region will be monitoring for asian carp within their area.