DNR: 51 invasive carp in Mississippi River near La Crosse

DNR: 51 invasive carp in Mississippi River near La Crosse

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silver carp, grass carp, invasive carp

A total of 39 silver carp and 11 grass carp were found in the nets of two commercial fishing boats near La Crosse, Wis., according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Biologists and state wardens fear that the threshold they've long worried about may have finally been crossed: Asian carp may have begun to spawn in Minnesota.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota, Wisconsin and federal officials plan to conduct large-scale netting in response to the capture of 51 invasive carp on the Mississippi River between the two states, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Commercial netters caught the silver and grass carp near La Crosse and Trempealeau, Wisconsin, last weekend and contacted the Minnesota DNR. Biologists identified 39 silver carp and 11 grass carp caught just south of La Crosse and one silver carp caught farther upstream.

“This is the largest congregation of invasive carp we’ve seen this far upstream,” Ben Larson, the Minnesota DNR’s invasive carp field lead, said in a statement.

Invasive carp have been advancing north since escaping into the Mississippi River from southern fish farms in the 1970s. They compete with native species for food. While individual invasive carp has been caught as far upstream as near the Twin Cities, no breeding populations have been documented in the portion that forms the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

The Minnesota DNR said the concentration of carp was “very likely” related to prolonged high water on the Mississippi last summer, when gates at the locks and dams on the river were kept open to pass flood waters, allowing easier upstream movements of fish.

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