TWRA Working To Stop Asian Carp

Friday, July 13, 2018
Silver and Bighead Carp
Silver and Bighead Carp

Biologists with TWRA monitor fish populations throughout the state, including species such as invasive forms of Asian carp. There are four species of Asian carp currently in Tennessee including bighead, black, grass and silver carp. Although concerned with all invasive species, TWRA focuses on the impact of silver carp which have greatly impacted west Tennessee.

 

Silver and bighead carp are filter feeders which can remove microorganisms from waterways utilized by native fish.

Silver carp are known to jump from the water when startled. Silver carp have not been detected in waters near Chattanooga. However, biologists continue monitoring for the physical presence and movement of this and other species.

 

Recent eDNA analysis, a test sampling water only, has indicated bighead carp below Watts Bar Dam in the Tennessee waterways near Chattanooga. It is important to note, there have been no physical observations of this fish in Watts Bar or below its dam. TWRA has known of the presence of bighead carp near Nickajack Reservoir Dam for some time. Despite low abundance in the Nickajack area, the bighead carp state record was set in 2005 in Guntersville.

 

Asian carp were unintentionally introduced into U.S. waters in the late 1980s and early 1990s when they escaped from private aquaculture ponds into the Mississippi River during extreme floods. Asian carp migrated into Tennessee waters via locks at Kentucky and Barkley dams.  Asian carp also entered Reelfoot Lake during high flows through its spillway.

 

There are two pathways through which Asian carp will advance into this region. One is migration through dams and locks that provide unrestricted access. The other is through unintentional transport as bait. Tributary reservoirs such as Dale Hollow, Center Hill, Great Falls and Parksville, which do not have a lock at their dam, will only acquire Asian carp through human introduction.

 

TWRA and partnering agencies are working to stop the advance of Asian carp through the research of sound barriers as well as through education on the movement of live bait. Equally important, TWRA is investing one half million dollars in the commercial harvest of Asian carp in Barkley and Kentucky Lakes. TWRA chief of fisheries Frank Fiss stated, “Studies and work taking place in west Tennessee will inherently help us stop the spread of this species into other areas. Tennessee is not alone in this struggle. Many states are working on this issue and sharing information gained from scientific research.”

 

TWRA Region III program manager Mark Thurman said, “Region III reservoir managers have long evaluated fish populations. Continued monitoring and comparison of historical data will provide impact estimates if Asian carp are found in its reservoirs.” Reservoirs will respond differently to the presence of Asian carp. Characteristics such as the size of the reservoir, competition for plankton and nutrient levels will determine the rate of progress of Asian carp and the possible decline of native fish populations.

 

Region III reservoir biologist Mike Jolley said, “As a biologist, the realization of Asian carp in any of the Region III waters is one of the greatest fears we have. There are no positives to having Asian carp, but only negative consequences. Prevention is paramount at the present time. It is imperative that all outdoor recreationalists do their part.”

 

“Don’t Dump Bait” has been one of the messaging strategies utilized by TWRA. Anglers should heed this statement and educate those around them. It is illegal to move live Asian carp in Tennessee and illegal to have a live bighead or silver carp in possession. Young Asian carp look very similar to shad. It is illegal to stock any species of fish into pubic waters. Anyone wishing to report illegal activity or in need of proper identification of a fish should contact their regional TWRA office.

Silver Carp
Silver Carp


Early Teal Season Opens Sept. 8 In Georgia

Early teal season is the first opportunity of the year for waterfowl hunters to get out in the field, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. This year, early teal season is  Sept. 8-23,  with a daily limit of six teal.    “Scouting is very important during early teal season,” said State Waterfowl Biologist ... (click for more)

TWRA Leasing Fields For 2018 Dove Season

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2018 dove season. The first segment of dove season opens at noon on Saturday, Sept. 1. Mourning doves are a popular game bird and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species combined in 39 of the ... (click for more)

City To Delay Proposal To Surplus 3 Buildings Near City Hall

City officials said Tuesday they will delay action on the proposal to surplus three buildings near City Hall. Stacy Richardson, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Berke, said the staff still does not have all the answers to questions raised about the plan. She said the staff is still convinced that moving the buildings to the private market as part of the Innovation District would ... (click for more)

Hearing Delay On Suit Brought By State Democrats To Keep Robin Smith Off Ballot

A hearing has been delayed on a lawsuit brought by the Tennessee Democratic Party seeking to keep Republican Robin Smith off the ballot in House District 26. Ms. Smith was the only candidate after longtime Rep. Gerald McCormick abruptly announced he was leaving his post to move to Nashville. Chancellor Jeff Atherton on Monday afternoon said he could not take the case until ... (click for more)

Make One Of The Proposed Surplus City Buildings Into A Local History Museum - And Response

The city of Chattanooga currently has no history center or museum. That is because several years ago it was conveyed to the public, in the blinking of an eye, that $9 million that had been raised mysteriously vanished for reasons unexplainable to this date. In the meantime, valuable artifacts and collections are sitting in cellars, basements and storage facilities instead of being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No Cell Phones Allowed

There was a time, not so long ago, when school-aged children would learn lessons from a prescribed text, such as a textbook. Today texting is far, far different and, as any of our teachers will tell us, cell phones have become the scourge of education. In almost every classroom, kids will silently text in the shadow of the desk in front of them rather than focus on the lesson. Yet ... (click for more)