TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana fisherman exploring the Wabash River
earlier this month encountered hundreds of Asian carp leaping out of the
water, proof that the voracious fish is alive and well in the state.
Brendan Kearns likened the hundreds of fish jumping on the river near
Montezuma to popcorn kernels popping.
“They are all along the river right now,” said Kearns, who posted a video of
his excursion online at www.purplepug.com.
The video shows the fish leaping out of the water as Kearns’ boat passes,
with some landing onboard.
Phil Bloom, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources,
said the Asian silver carp, which is known for its jumping ability, can be
dangerous when frightened by the sounds of boat motors. “A boat will be
coming along and the fish get spooked and they jump and the boater gets
hit,” Bloom said.
Asian silver carp and bighead carp, which can grow to five feet long and
weigh 100 pounds, were imported to Deep South fish farms and sewage lagoons
in the early 1970s. They escaped into the Mississippi and have been
migrating north since.
The species were first discovered in Indiana in the mid-1990s in the
southwest tip of Indiana near the Ohio River, Bloom said. Some of the fish
have more recently been discovered in the northern part of the Wabash River.
The prolific carp eat plankton that form a vital link in the aquatic food
chain. Scientists say if they gain a foothold in the Great Lakes, they could
starve out smaller fish and decimate the fishing industry.
Five states filed suit in July demanding tougher federal and municipal
action on Asian carp, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has called for using
poison to keep the voracious fish out of the Great Lakes.
Indiana plans to build a mesh barrier to keep the carp from leaving the
Wabash River system and jeopardizing Lake Erie.
Those who catch an Asian carp are asked to kill them. Bloom said the fish