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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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A big head carp.Photo courtesy: USGS

ASIAN CARP. All four of the Asian carps that are established in the United States spread quickly after introduction, became very abundant, and hurt native fishes either by damaging habitats or by consuming vast amounts of food. Common and grass carps destroy habitat and reduce water quality for native fishes by uprooting or consuming aquatic vegetation. (1)

Bighead and silver carps are large filter-feeders that compete with larval fishes, paddlefish, bigmouth buffalo, and freshwater mollusks (clams). In addition, boaters have been injured by silver carp because they commonly jump out of the water and into or over boats in response to outboard motors. Black carp, which consume almost exclusively mussels and snails, may further threaten our already imperiled native freshwater mussels if they become established. Commonly these fish are 24–30 inches and 3–10 pounds, but individuals of all species can reach 50+ pounds. (2)

These carp were introduced to the U.S. in the 1970s in hope that they would control weed and parasite growth in aquatic farms. A few of these carp managed to get into the MISSISSIPPI RIVER, and eventually established breeding populations. They are slowly making their way northward up the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and have been found as far north as Minnesota. (3)

Bighead and silver carp spread into river entering the Mississippi. There have been catches in the Iowa and Cedar rivers. In the Illinois River, Asian carp are believed to comprise 50% of the fish poundage. (4)

In 2014 the fishing industry was beginning to develop for Asian carp. Television programs such as "Bizarre Foods" championed the flavor of the fish. The white meat is best when the fish are packed in ice soon after being caught. (5)

Silver Carp :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfG4vsJ5_xI



1. "Asian Carp," USGS, Online: http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/invasive_species/asian_carp.html

2. Ibid.

3. "Asian Carp Overview," Minnesota National River and Recreation Area, Minnesota. Online: http://www.nps.gov/miss/naturescience/ascarpover.htm

4. Reber, Craig D. "Asian Carp on the Move" Telegraph Herald, April 6, 2014, p. 2

4. Ibid.