Asian Carp vary greatly in size. They can be as small as goldfish or grow to be as large as a man! Adult Asian Carps consume up to 20% of their body weight every day in plankton and can grow to over 100 pounds! These fish have no natural predators in North America, and females lay approximately half a million eggs each time they spawn.
DID YOU KNOW?
Species of Asian Carps are known to be very harmful to the ecosystems in parts of the United States, particularly the Great Lakes. The two species of Asian Carp that are of most concern for an invasion of the Great Lakes are the silver carp and the bighead carp, both of which originate from Southeast Asia.
WHERE DID ASIAN CARP COME FROM?
- Asian Carp were imported into the southern United States in the 1970s to manage aquaculture farms. Due to massive flooding of the Mississippi River, Asian carp escaped from these fish farms and made their way northward into the Illinois River.
- Today, bighead carp can be found in the waters of 23 states and silver carp in 17 states. The Chicago Area Waterways System is possibly how the Asian Carp will enter the Great Lakes.
- There are currently electric barriers built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a man-made canal that connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River by the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers.
- These electric barriers are being used to keep the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes Basin.
- A fence divides Eagle Marsh, a flood plain that joins the upper reaches of the Wabash and Maumee Rivers.
Creation of the above page of educational resources was funded in part by the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program through the Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agricultural and Rural Development.
This material is also based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1614187.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.