Local government leaders and business owners say ‘War on Carp’ is working

LYON COUNTY, KY — For the past several years Asian carp have plagued Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. That’s why about a year ago, the War on Carp initiative was started. Its goal is to get rid of as many Asian carp as possible.

Asian carp harm native species and jump out of the water — sometimes hitting boaters.

“I think we’re winning the war on these fish,” says Kuttawa Marina owner Wayne Breedlove.

Breedlove has seen tourism on Lake Barkley struggle as Asian carp became a problem. He says the carp problem has affected business.

“Over the past couple of years it’s really gotten worse to the point to where parents were scared for their kids to be tubing and jet skiing,” says Breedlove.

Breedlove says those worries are starting to disappear as boaters don’t see as many carp.

“I don’t think I’ve heard anybody mention it, so that being said, I truly think it’s getting a whole lot better,” says Breedlove.

Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White is one of the leaders that initiated the War on Carp campaign.

“Right now we’re making a big dent in them,” says White.

White is now adding more incentives for commercial fishermen to catch Asian carp. Fishermen signed on with Lyon County will get another 4 cents per pound, on top of the 5 cents per pound the state offers, plus the market value of the carp.

“I see this being solved by fishing them as much as possible out of the lakes, blocking them off at the dams, and then retreat to the rivers and fish them down as much as possible,” says White.

Most of the Asian carp are sold at the Kentucky Fish Center in Eddyville after they are caught. There, the fish are put in crates, put on ice, and sent to the processor. Since January, the Kentucky Fish Center has collected more than 2 million pounds of Asian carp. Breedlove says he is just glad things appear to be improving.

“We got a lot more work to do, but I see us winning the fight,”says Breedlove.

White says the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife will soon be tracking the progress of the Asian carp being pulled out of the lakes.

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