Database and web application for Asian carp catch data (Illinois River Catch Database)

Science Center Objects

Four types of Asian carp, an invasive fish species, are currently found in the United States: black, grass, silver, and bighead carps. These species are fast growing, prolific feeders that out-compete native fish species and drastically alter the natural ecosystems they invade. To prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, the multi-agency Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) implements collective efforts to oversee and coordinate interagency research, prevention, monitoring, control, and removal of Asian carp. These efforts include intensive agency monitoring using various fishing gears to assess the threat of Asian carp upstream movement and range expansion and employing contracted commercial harvest of adult Asian carp from the Illinois River to reduce their relative abundance.

The Monitoring and Response Work Group (MRWG) of the ACRCC is tasked with deploying monitoring, response, control, and management efforts to address the leading edge of current Asian carp boundaries in the Illinois River. The MRWG collects a vast amount of data, particularly on its contracted fishing, netting, electrofishing, and other collection operations and interprets the data to provide recommendations to the ACRCC. Coordination required to acquire data from multiple sources is difficult and the type and amount of data collected varies between reporting agencies and commercial fishermen, necessitating a centralized data repository in which all agencies can submit, store, access, and utilize Asian carp-related catch data. Providing a centralized, standardized catch database allows all partner agencies to contribute their data and maximize what they can learn from data being collected by the larger partnership.


In support of these monitoring, control, and removal efforts, this project provides centralized access to standardized monitoring and removal data (i.e., catch data) in a scalable, query-able, downloadable database format (referred to as the Illinois River Catch Database, or ILRCdb). Informational products from the ILRCdb facilitate data sharing, use, and analysis by providing monitoring agencies with automated monthly reports on catch efforts and resource managers with summary and visualization tools to analyze the spatial and temporal distribution of Asian carp and other native fishes caught throughout the Illinois River.

Sample graphs and catch data points, displayed on a map, from the Illinois River Catch Database and web application.

Sample graphs and catch data points, displayed on a map, from the Illinois River Catch Database and web application, showing the species and types of fishing gears used to support monitoring and removal of Asian carp in the Illinois River.

(Credit: Travis Harrison. Public domain.)


**Agencies retain ownership of the datasets they contribute to the Illinois River Catch Database; sharing of these datasets beyond supporting the collective management objectives of the broader partnership is at the discretion of the original collecting agency.


**This effort is funded in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).