Development and Evaluation of Novel Capture Gears for Bigheaded Carps

Science Center Objects

Mass removal of Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, hereafter referred to as bigheaded carps, is a primary management action to contain the population growth and reduce upstream dispersal. The use of passive trap nets to harvest bigheaded carps may effectively supplement active capture techniques. The USGS is working with partner agencies to develop and evaluate new methods for capturing bigheaded carps.

The Issue: The USGS is part of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) and is focused on the research and development of techniques that could help managers better control Asian Carp populations. Techniques are needed to economically increase harvest of bigheaded carps.


Great Lakes style pound net

Great Lakes style pound net used by Collins et al. (2015) and ongoing studies.

(Public domain.)

Addressing the Issue: The Illinois Natural History Survey has tested several different capture gears for bigheaded carps in Illinois backwaters (Collins et al. 2015). They found that pound nets may be an effective gear for carp removal. Bigheaded carps are known for their evasive behavior, so identifying a trap net that will effectively capture large numbers may provide managers with an additional, cost-effective harvest method. Researchers at the USGS have designed new trap nets that are similar in concept, that can be tested alongside the pound net. These trap nets are being tested as passive gears in Illinois backwaters, and in Kentucky Lake in 2018.


Next Steps/Future Steps/Results: Following an assessment of novel gear performance as passive harvest methods, the trap nets will be used in conjunction with stimuli that may enhance harvest. Such supplemental techniques may include pushing carp toward the nets with sound or baiting the nets with food attractants.


Cited Reference:

Collins, S.F., Butler, S.E., Diana, M.J., and Wahl, D.H., 2015, Catch Rates and Cost Effectiveness of Entrapment Gears for Asian Carp: A Comparison of Pound Nets, Hoop Nets, and Fyke Nets in Backwater Lakes of the Illinois River: North American Journal of Fisheries Management, v. 35, no. 6, p. 1219-1225. 

pound net

USGS biologists harvesting fish out of the pound net.

(Public domain.)

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