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In a press release earlier this week, it was announced that the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission received approval for additional funding to help control the growing invasive carp population in the state.
A $70,000 budget increase will allow for the purchase and outfitting of two specialized crafts. Crews on these crafts will be charged with catching and removing the invasive carp from the Arkansas/Red/White River Basin and the Lower Mississippi River Basin.
In the press release, AGFC Director Austin Booth explained that anglers have made the issue known and that the AGFC is well aware of the “new problem.” Calling the control a “massive challenge,” Booth explained that the commission will not only be attempting to remove the invasive carp, but also using the experience as an opportunity to study and evaluate the success of the project.
In addition to the dedicated crafts and crews, Arkansas has also invested in public education campaigns to spreads awareness of invasive carp species. Regulations have also been implemented that may reduce the spread of juvenile invasive carp via live bait transport.
Not to be confused with the popular Cyrpinus Carpio, the invasive species in Arkansas consist of black carp, silver carp, and bighead carp. These species were introduced into Arkansas during the 1960s and 70s in an attempt to control blooming algae and vegetation issues.
Flooding over the years has allowed these species to escape into not only the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, but also the Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri rivers.
Booth is hopeful that these efforts will have positive, widespread benefits, stating, “these projects will benefit thousands of Arkansans and outdoorsmen from all across the state from all walks of life, from trout anglers to public land hunters to folks who simply love to fish from the bank.”