Are Asian carp dangerous?

Silver carp (a variety of Asian carp) are easily disturbed and will jump as much as 10 feet into the air in response to rocks thrown in the water, passing trains, geese taking off from the water, or just when they unexpectedly find themselves in a tight place. They also jump at the sound of outboard motors, often landing in boats and sometimes striking the passengers. With a boat speed of over 20 mph and fish that can weigh over 20 pounds, this can be disastrous. Jumping fish have seriously injured many boaters and damaged boats. Water skiing on the Missouri River is now exceedingly dangerous because most of the fish jump behind the boat.

Learn More: Invasive Species Program -  Asian Carp

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What are Asian Carp?

Carp are not native to North American waters, but various carp species have been introduced here since the mid-1800s, much to the detriment of native fish. Although carp eradication measures have been active for over 100 years, long-established species, like the common carp, are present in almost every state. Asian carp (bighead, black, grass, and...

Can I eat Asian carp?

Asian carp of all types have white, firm, mild flesh, which is excellent table fare, but all Asian carp also have intramuscular bones in the filets that many people find undesirable. Asian carp feed low on the food web, are fast growing, are low in fat in the filets, and are not usually bottom feeders — all properties of fish that are lower in...

Is it possible to eradicate Asian carp once they are in an area?

Eradicating an established population of Asian carp would be extremely difficult and expensive, if possible at all. Potential control methods include the use of fish poisons, physical barriers, physical removal, habitat alteration, or the addition of predators, parasites, or pathogens. Research on Asian carp control is ongoing as part of the Asian...

What is an invasive species and why are they a problem?

An invasive species is an introduced, nonnative organism (disease, parasite, plant, or animal) that begins to spread or expand its range from the site of its original introduction and that has the potential to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or to human health. A few well-known examples include the unintentional introduction of the...
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Date published: March 6, 2019

Newly Hatched Invasive Grass Carp Found in Maumee River, Ohio

A genetic analysis conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey recently confirmed that  larval, or newly hatched, fish collected from the Maumee River during the summer of 2018 are grass carp, one species of invasive Asian carps that threaten the Great Lakes. The Maumee River is a tributary to Lake Erie.

Date published: April 26, 2017

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 6, 2015

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Erie

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Erie, there would be enough food available for these species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: June 18, 2013

Determining Rivers Vulnerable to Asian Carp Spawning in the Great Lakes Basin

Great Lakes resource managers can now determine rivers that may be vulnerable to Asian carp spawning if they were to spread into the Great Lakes Basin, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report.

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August 12, 2012

Yazoo! Flying Carp!

U.S. Geological Survey scientists encounter Asian flying carp on the Yazoo River, Mississippi.

Attribution: Water Resources
video thumbnail: Under Siege: Battling Flying Carp and Giant Pythons and How Science Can Help
July 3, 2012

Under Siege: Battling Flying Carp and Giant Pythons and How Science Can Help

Over the last several decades, non-native species have continued to invade sensitive ecosystems in the United States. Two high-profile species, Asian carp in the Midwest and Burmese pythons in the Everglades, are the focus of much attention by decision makers, the public and the media. Sharon Gross, Robert Reed and Cynthia Kolar discuss issues related to invasive species

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Attribution: Ecosystems
Jumping Silver Carp
December 31, 2006

Jumping Silver Carp

Flying Silver Carp

Asian Carp mouth showing gills.
November 30, 2000

Asian Carp mouth showing gills.

Asian Carp mouth showing gills.

A Silver Carp tagged with an acoustic transmitter (black tag located on the fish’s back) to monitor movement in the field. Fish
November 30, 2000

A Silver Carp tagged with an acoustic transmitter

A Silver Carp tagged with an acoustic transmitter (black tag located on the fish’s back) to monitor movement in the field. Fish were monitored in response to the recording of a boat motor

UMESC Scientist showing Silver Carp on left and Bighead Carp on right
November 30, 2000

UMESC Scientist showing Silver Carp on left and Bighead Carp on right

UMESC Scientist showing Silver Carp on left and Bighead Carp on right

Image: Bighead Carp

Bighead Carp

Bighead carp are a large and troublesome invasive species from Asia found in the great rivers of the central United States.

Image: High-jumping Silver Carp

High-jumping Silver Carp

Silver carp are a large a troublesome invasive species from Asia found in the great rivers of the central United States. Silver carp have been observed to jump in response to rocks thrown in the water, passing trains, geese taking off from the water, or just when they unexpectedly find themselves in a tight place. However, a speeding boat seems to especially frighten them

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