Management and Control Plan for Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver Carps in the United States


Natural resources managers are concerned that Asian carps have the potential to cause extensive and irreversible changes to the aquatic environment, particularly those that have been extensively altered and are severely impacted by on-going physical and chemical stressors, thereby jeopardizing the long-term sustainability of native  aquatic species, particularly to imperiled, threatened, and endangered species. The USFWS added all forms of live silver carp to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act, prohibiting their importation and interstate transport (except by permit), effective August 9, 2007. The USFWS has also been petitioned to add bighead and black carp as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act and is evaluating these species to make determination recommendations. Confounding this situation is the fact that the bighead  carp has been cultured and sold as a live food fish product since the early 1980s, grass carp have been stocked nationally by public and private entities since the mid 1970s as a biological control for aquatic weeds (grass carp are also cultured and sold as a live food fish product), and the black carp has been used since the early 1990s  as a biological control for snail-borne parasites in commercial aquaculture production ponds.

The USFWS recognized the complexity of the situation and that the potential magnitude of the problems were such that all stakeholders (i.e., private and public sector fisheries professionals, aquaculturists, aquatic ecologists, and the public) must be involved in the development of an appropriate management plan. With this kind of collaborative effort in mind, the USFWS and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force organized an Asian Carp Working Group (Working Group) to develop a comprehensive national Asian carp management and control plan. This document represents the culmination of that effort.

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