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DNR confirms invasive silver carp on St. Croix River

Invasive silver carp. (Photo/ Minnesota DNR)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the capture of a silver carp on the St. Croix River. A commercial fisherman caught the invasive carp near Prescott, Wis., during routine spring netting.

"Captures of individual invasive carp are disappointing but not surprising," DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer said in a statement. "This silver carp was captured in an area that is heavily fished in the spring, as it is an overwintering area for several species of fish. In 2017, two silver carp were captured at this same location."

The most recently captured silver carp was a 26¼-inch male weighing 7 pounds.

The commercial netter had informed the DNR area fisheries office that his crew would be netting in the area. Upon discovering the silver carp in the catch, the commercial fisherman immediately contacted the DNR. A DNR invasive carp specialist secured the fish and transported it back to the area office for further processing. DNR staff are working with the commercial fisherman to conduct additional netting at the location of this discovery.

Frohnauer noted that while the DNR continues to be concerned about the potential impact of invasive carp in the St. Croix River and other Minnesota waters, individual adult fish captures do not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp in the St. Croix.

"In this instance, there was one invasive carp out of the hundreds of fish handled in the haul," Frohnauer said.

Invasive carp have progressed upstream since escaping into the Lower Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters, the DNR said.

Individual invasive carp have been caught as far upstream as Mississippi River Pool 2 near the Twin Cities (bighead, grass and silver), the King Power Plant on the St. Croix River by Oak Park Heights (bighead) and just downstream of Granite Falls in the Minnesota River (bighead).

The DNR Invasive Species Program has built partnerships with state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp. The 2015 closure of the Mississippi River lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis was a major accomplishment of these efforts.

The DNR is actively engaged with several prevention efforts.

The DNR is an active partner in the Upper Mississippi River Invasive Carp Workgroup. The group includes representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and several federal agencies.

In partnership with the DNR, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota is testing and evaluating carp deterrents in Mississippi River locks and dams. Previously, MAISRC had installed and evaluated a speaker system at Lock 8. Development of this technology will continue this year with the installation of an updated speaker system at this location.

The DNR's Fish and Wildlife Division leads a comprehensive sampling program to monitor fish population changes and impacts of management actions. This includes working with commercial fishers, as demonstrated by this incident.

State funding sources, including the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and Outdoor Heritage Fund, have provided key funding for deterrent actions and the DNR invasive carp detection and response program.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call (651) 587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. People who think they may have captured an invasive carp should take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official.

More info: www.mndnr.gov/invasive-carp.

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