16 thousand pounds of carp removed from local lakes and rivers
GILBERTSVILLE, KY – They are invading our waterways and eating food that other animals need. If you’ve been on the lake or any of our rivers, you might have been hit by one.
Asian Carp are an invasive species taking over our waterways and threatening the ecosystem there.
The lake is calm, but underneath the water it is a different story.
“They have a defense mechanism that when startled they jump out of the water,” James Ray, fisherman said. “As far as being dangerous to boaters, anybody that is jet skiing or on a pontoon, if they get in a school of those things you know jumping out of the water going 30 or 40 miles an hour down the waterway and get hit in the face with a 40 pound fish probably will be pretty nasty.”
“Over time, they can kill off the population of other fish,” Ray explained. “So we are trying to get them out so other fish can thrive is the goal.”
The Carp Madness bowfishing tournament is bringing in fisherman from all over.
“Shooting them with a bow, just traditional bowfishing equipment nothing fancy,” said Jeff Giarrizzo from Clarksville, Tennessee. He’s ready to take on the carp.
The quest is for as many and as many pounds as we can shoot in a night,” Giarrizzo said. “Hopefully put a dent in the population.”
12 hours later, event organizers have set up a weighing area. As trucks pull through towing their boats that are loaded with fish, this area becomes the splash zone. Hundreds of pounds of carp are being tossed out of every boat.
16,000 pounds of carp was caught over night, but this won’t fix the problem for good.
“There is a lot of them pretty much,” Ray said. “They are expanding by numbers we can’t even fathom quite frankly.”
“They reproduce so much and they eat the plankton and are on the same food level chain as the bass and crappie,” Ryan Devine said. “They are basically starving them out.”
Devine is on one of the winning teams, catching more than a thousand pounds of carp overnight. He has an idea for a fix.
“I think we need to fish them down as far as commercial fishing goes. If we can create a market for them, that is really going to help tremendously,” said Devine.
They say this is a start.
The tournament had a river division and a lakes division. The winners of each division caught over 1,000 pounds of carp and took home $10,000.