• Outdoors Outdoors

State wildlife agency will pay residents $100 to catch one type of fish — here's why

Imaginative means of controlling invasive fish populations will be welcome to maintain natural order.

Imaginative means of controlling invasive fish populations will be welcome to maintain natural order.

Photo Credit: iStock

In an effort to curb the thriving population of invasive silver carp in Tennessee's waterways, the state wildlife agency has turned to avid anglers.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is offering $100 for each fish caught that has a loop tag or upper jaw band, which have been added to 1,000 silver carp by local fisheries.

If you manage to catch one of the tagged fish, anglers need to keep the tag and contact the TWRA's fisheries division using the number on the identifying accessory. Then it's just a case of providing some details about how and where the fish was snagged.

According to the Tennessean, the silver carp is one of four invasive carp species commonly found in Tennessee. The aquatic creatures devour zooplankton, which is a vital food source for many of the state's native fish species. They can grow to up to 60 pounds in weight and have even been known to injure fishers and boaters when they jump out of the water. 

If anglers catch a silver carp that doesn't have a tag, the TWRA calls for those fish to be kept on ice or frozen and for the organization to be contacted immediately, per WAEW Radio

The silver carp, which are native to China, are playing havoc on the local ecosystem, so even if you're not lucky enough to catch one of the tagged fish, it's important to not let the creature back into the water. 

Similar schemes are being utilized elsewhere. In New South Wales in Australia, for example, the annual Namoi Carp Muster offers prizes for the participant who catches the most or the largest carp, with 200 million predicted to be in the country's waterways. 

In Florida, scuba divers at the Florida Keys Lionfish Derby & Festival compete to catch the most lionfish for cash prizes. The creatures feast on native species and lay eggs regularly and abundantly. 

Ecosystem damage in waterways can have knock-on effects, with a decline of certain species upsetting the natural balance and possible coastal or riverside erosion leading to decreased flood protection for water-neighboring communities — which is a mounting concern as rising global temperatures increase the length and intensity of extreme weather conditions.

That's why keeping invasive species in check is so important, and whether it's competing to catch the most or cooking these animals up to make tasty dishes — silver carp are safe to eat, according to the Tennessean —  imaginative means of control will be welcome to maintain natural order. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider