Anglers encouraged to watch for
Asian carp in Illinois waters
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SPRINGFIELD -- Anglers in Illinois are being
encouraged to be on the lookout for and report any new sightings of bighead
and silver carp, two species of invasive Asian carp threatening sportfishing
throughout the Mississippi and Illinois River basins and Great Lakes region.
A new poster is being distributed to
bait shops in Illinois to assist those fishing in the state in
identifying bighead and silver carp -- and outlining what anglers
should do if they find or catch the invasive fish. The poster was
developed by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program, in cooperation
with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Natural
History Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The poster features images of the
fast-growing species, along with images of juvenile bighead and
silver carp. The juveniles are more difficult to identify and are
similar in characteristics to baitfish often used by Illinois
anglers, such as gizzard shad.
Biologists encourage those fishing in
Illinois waters, particularly on the Illinois River and its
tributaries in northern and northeast Illinois, to learn to identify
bighead and silver carp and to report sightings. Anglers who catch
bighead or silver carp are asked to note the location of the catch,
to freeze the specimen in a sealed plastic bag and to contact the
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program, (847) 872-8677, or the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources, (309) 968-7531.
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silver carp compete with young sport fish and forage fish for food
sources, including plant and animal plankton, posing a threat to
commercial and recreational fishing in the region. The Asian carp
migration through the Illinois River toward the Chicago Sanitary and
Ship Canal and Lake Michigan prompted a joint effort among state,
federal and international agencies to develop strategies for
preventing the spread of the fish. A temporary electric barrier
designed to prevent the fish from passing through was installed on
the canal in Romeoville in 2002. Depending on the availability of
funding, a second electric barrier in the canal is expected to be
constructed later this year.
Department of Natural Resources