Million-Dollar Tennessee Carp Removal Project Hits 25-Million-Pound Mark

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Tennessee’s million-dollar carp removal program from Tennessee’s rivers has led to 25 million pounds of carp being removed.

The count was most recently updated in June as commercial fishermen removed invasive carp from the Kentucky, Barkley, Cheatham, Old Hickory and Pickwick reservoirs.

The agency funded a $75,000 grant in 2017 to the Paris Henry County Industrial Committee to develop local commercial fishing businesses for carp.

Then the program added a $500,000 grant for commercial fishing incentives before the agency provided a $400,000 grant for wholesale fish dealers enrolled in the Asian Carp Harvest Incentive Program in 2020.

As of Aug. 31, 2022, the agency said 18.4 million pounds of carp had been removed from the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers before reaching the 25-million-pound mark in June.

“Partnerships with the commercial fishing industry are a key strategy in the state’s ongoing efforts to remove invasive carp and prevent their spread in Tennessee,” said Eric Ganus, TWRA Commercial Fishing Coordinator.

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission said the immediate concern from carp is the safety of boaters as silver carp are known to jump and injure boaters in a moving boat.

The long-term concern is carp change the waterways’ ecosystem and deplete food resources that support other native fish as both silver and bighead carp are filter feeders that eat microscopic plankton. Controlling the carp population also limits the carps’ need to move further upstream.

“While commercial harvest is the primary approach to defend our waters from the impacts and expansion of invasive carp, another key strategy to prevent the spread of invasive carp to upstream waters is deterrents.” said Cole Harty, TWRA Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.

The incentive program works with both wholesale fish dealers and commercial fishermen as the agency also promotes carp as a food.

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *