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Leaping Asian Carp Invasion a Growing Problem

Jun 16, 2014 01:48 PM EDT
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The invasive Asian carp, a species of fish not native to the United States, has become a growing problem in the Illinois River.

The fish, which can grow as much as 100 pounds, are so abundant that it seems that they have nowhere to go. They have taken to leaping from the water onto people's passing boats.

"It's like somebody set off an explosion under water. They're just everywhere. These fish are probably the equivalent of getting hit in the head with probably a brick or a bowling ball," fisherman Zach Nayden told CNN affiliate WHOI-TV.

After being brought to America in the 1970s to clean up fresh water, Asian carp numbers have continued to grow. However, it seems that local fisherman aren't complaining.

"We troll through it at a certain speed to get them agitated and jump and guys just let the arrow fly," Nayden explained.

The fisherman can capture 20 fish on a regular trip and has caught as many as 180 on an especially high-volume day. The market for the fish has been growing and isn't yet regulated.

While fisherman relish in the fact that their catch is practically leaping onto their plates, others are concerned about their sizeable numbers.

According to the Associated Press, officials have been seeking ways to keep the invasive carp population under control.

For Indiana, a lack of dams on the Wabash River has kept the current strong and steady - a not so ideal environment for carp, which breed in rivers and then prefer to live in smooth lake waters.

"The way our rivers are is a blessing," Doug Keller of the state Department of Natural Resources told the Journal & Courier. "I just don't think we're going to see the population like these dammed-up rivers."

Despite this respite thanks to 400 miles of unobstructed water, state officials still are searching for a solution to this growing problem, such as a virus or bacteria lethal only to Asian carp or predator fish.

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