Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


March 19, 2013

Still a threat

2-day tournament nets more than 40 tons of Asian carp

ASHLAND — While stories about the invasion of Asian carp in the waters of the Mississippi River and its tributaries have largely faded from the headlines, all one has to do is look at the results of a two-day professional fishing tournament in Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake to realize the fish that can weigh more than 100 pounds remain a major threat to other fish that populate the rivers, streams and lakes in Kentucky.

Using nets, the professional anglers pulled 82,953 pounds of Asian carp from the two western Kentucky lakes during the two-day tournament in which they were vying for a top prize of $10,000. While netting more than 41 tons of Asian carp in less than two days sounds like a lot of fish — and it is — it was less than half the goal of 100 tons of Asian carp the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife had set for the tournament. Twenty fishing teams signed up for the tournament, but only 11 teams brought in fish for weighing. Whether the other nine teams failed to catch Asian carp or they did not catch enough to be competitive is not known.

The tons of fish caught were taken to a processing plant in Mississippi where they were harvested for fish oils and used in pet foods. While some claim Asian carp can be quite tasty, few are willing to try it because the river carp in this region are virtually inedible and not at all tasty. It has been suggested the best way to develop a commercial market for Asian carp is to change its name.

Asian carp infiltrated the Mississippi River in the 1970s after getting loose from fish farms. Federal officials, worried about the species reaching the Great Lakes, are conducting a study to investigate how Asian carp DNA got into rivers and canals in the Chicago area.

Ron Brooks, Kentucky’s fisheries director, said one species of the problem fish, the silver carp, is prone to leaping out of the water when agitated by boat noise, which can injure boaters and skiers. He said state officials will make tweaks to the next tournament to attract more fishing teams.

The two-day tournament “validated some of the things we had thought, that good skilled fishermen can come in there and take out 10,000 pounds a day; all you have to do is create a market,” said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife spokesman Mark Marraccini. The fish can be harvested to produce fertilizers, pet foods and fish oil products, he said. They are also edible.

State officials are concerned about the rapid spread of the Asian carp in Barkley and Kentucky lakes. The carp breed faster than some native species and eat the algae and zooplankton other fish depend on. The large carp are a threat to all other fish in the two lakes, including the ones anglers most want.

Marraccini is right. Finding a commercial market for the Asian carp may be the best way to control the population. But until that happens, the large carp will be considered a nuisance and a threat to the freshwater lakes in the state, When more than 80,000 pounds of Asian carp can be caught in nets in two Kentucky lakes in just two days, it is a clear indication of just how big of a threat Asian carp are in Kentucky.

Text Only
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014