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This Fish Story Is a Whopper, But True: Record-Breaking 750,000 Pounds of Invasive Carp Hauled From Illinois River
This Fish Story Is a Whopper, But True: Record-Breaking 750,000 Pounds of Invasive Carp Hauled From Illinois River
Jul 23, 2024 3:28 PM

Invasive carp seining operation in action. (Courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources)Invasive carp seining operation in action. (Courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

In one fell swoop, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) nearly doubled itsannual removal of invasive carpfrom the state’s waterways.

An intense 10-day “harvest” operation in the Illinois River near Starved Rock netted 750,000 pounds ofsilver carpbetween Nov. 27 and Dec. 6.

The haul represents the largest single removal effort IDNR has undertaken and is believed to be a record for freshwater harvest within the United States, officials said.

In a typical year, IDNR and contracted commercial fishers reel in a total of 1 million pounds of invasive carp. Thanks to the most recent success, the 2023 tally will top 1.7 million pounds, IDNR said.

Officials credited the whopping number to near-perfect weather conditions and increased experience with a new netting technique.

In 2022, crews used a seine — a net that surroundsfish on the sides and underneath — to remove 350,000 pounds of invasive carp. This year, use of the seine led to the removal of 750,000 pounds.

“Clearly, this removal technique is highly effective, but it is also highly dependent on water levels and water temperature,” said Brian Schoenung, aquatic nuisance species program manager for IDNR.

Reducing the density of adult fish in the Starved Rock pool helps suppress the population upstream, lessening the pressure on an electric dispersal barrier system near Romeoville. (TheStarved Rock Poolof the Illinois River extends from the Starved Rock Lock and Dam near Utica at mile 231 to the tailwater of the Marseilles Lock and Dam at mile 247.)

The ultimate goal is to prevent the invasive carp from becoming established in the Great Lakes.

Contact Patty Wetli:@pattywetli| (773) 509-5623 |[email protected]

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