Dennis Anderson: Carpe diem: Time is long past to stop jumping carp from invading more Minnesota rivers

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

You remember invasive carp, right? Scary critters with fins that are swimming up the Mississippi River toward Minnesota? Some are called grass carp, others bighead carp or black carp,

And the really awful, jumping carp? They're silver carp.

Silvers are the ones that have already populated rivers throughout the nation's midsection. The Illinois. The Ohio. The Wabash.

These and a few score other U.S. waterways are rife with silvers — fish that can leap from the water by the hundreds when they hear the whine of a boat motor.

Quiet cruises on those rivers? They're gone for the most part, replaced by fish-dodging survival sprees. Gone for the most part also are recreational options such as water skiing, or even running from one fishing spot to another without anglers worrying they'll be whacked in the noggin by a silver carp.

Silver carp also play havoc with native ecosystems, displacing both game and non-game fish.


No one can blame you if you've forgotten about these loathsome invaders, because the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also seems to have relegated their threat to the back burner — and the burner behind that one, too.

If you doubt that, check out this from the agency's website:

"The Minnesota DNR has been working to slow the spread of invasive carp since the early 2000s. A renewed effort began in 2011 and a collaboration of state and federal agencies, conservation groups and university researchers developed the Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan.''

Now, 12 years after that plan was formulated, instead of requesting money this session from the Legislature to install a Mississippi River deterrent that could minimize the chances silver carp can establish breeding populations that threaten more state waters, the DNR wants to ... wait for it ... form a committee to talk things over.


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