Discovery Of Asian Carp Near Winona ‘discouraging But Not Surprising,’ DNR Says

More bad news in the battle against aquatic invasive species in Minnesota surfaced last week in the form of a silver carp and a bighead carp caught March 1 in a seine net by commercial fishermen on the Mississippi River near Winona, Minn.

The Department of Natural Resources reported the findings Monday.

Commercial fishermen George Richtman, Tim Adams, Bob Davis (from left) hold Asian carp caught March 1 in Mississippi River near Winona, Minn. Richtman is holding grass carp, Adams is holding silver carp and Davis is holding bighead carp. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

The silver carp, known for its tendency to leap from the water when startled, weighed about 8 pounds and represents the farthest discovery to date of the species, the DNR said. Populations of the two Asian carp species now are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of pool 12 in Iowa.

“A silver carp discovery this far upstream is discouraging, but not surprising,” Tim Schlagenhaft of the DNR’s Mississippi River Team in Lake City, Minn., said in a news release. “This is further evidence that Asian carp continue to move upstream in the Mississippi River.”

No established populations of bighead or silver carp are known in Minnesota, the DNR said, but individual Asian carp have been caught by commercial fishermen in recent years. Three silver carp (two in pool 8 near La Crosse, Wis., and one in pool 9) were caught between 2008 and 2011. One bighead carp was caught in the St. Croix River in 1996 and one in 2011. From 2003 to 2009, six bighead carp were caught in the Mississippi River between Lake Pepin and the Iowa border.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing last year indicated the presence of silver carp in the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in the Twin Cities area. Searches by the DNR and commissioned commercial fishermen failed to turn up any sign of live Asian carp at that time.

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