NASHVILLE — In an effort to combat to the invasive Asian carp species, a commercial harvest incentive program will be developed in the fall of 2018.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s request of $500,000 budget expansion from the Marine Fuel Tax Fund was approved at the May meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
This will provide two years of funding for the program.
The TWRA, and other state and federal fish and wildlife organizations, have deemed the species as a threat to waterways.
In high abundance, these fish can out-compete native fish for essential resources. Asian carp were brought to the United States for use in the aquaculture industry, and these fish then escaped into the Mississippi River. Using navigation locks to traverse dams, the fish are steadily moving about the Mississippi Basin, including the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers in Tennessee.
Along with competing with other fish species for food, it has been well-documented that Asian carp can be a safety threat to humans. They jump out of the water and have struck boaters or those on other recreational crafts or skiers.
Harvest of carp by commercial fishing is the most practical means to reduce carp abundance, and to control their movement upstream as a population, according to officials. TWRA is hoping this new commercial harvest incentive program will encourage more carp to be harvested for a variety of expanding markets.