State, federal officials highlight Asian Carp removal method at Kentucky Lake

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LYON COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) A type of fish not native to Kentucky Lake is the target of a new removal process.

Today, Kentucky state and federal officials showed the new method to get rid of Asian carp, which has caused problems for other fish and fishermen.

Below the surface of Kentucky Lake lies a fish that’s been a growing problem.

“They threaten our natural ecosystem and can disrupt a valuable day on the lake,” says Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear during statements on the removal program at the lake.

It’s called the Asian Carp, a fish not native to Kentucky waters, and what officials say eats food like snails and plankton that other fish need to survive. Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White says it also disrupts the area’s $1.2 billion fishing industry.

“They are so populated that they push out our bass fishing, catfishing, causing problems where bass fishermen don’t want to come down here and have tournaments,” says Judge Exec. White.

State and federal officials are using the Modified United method. The month-long process uses underwater speakers and electric fishing gear to send the fish to smaller areas, blocked off with nets, for harvesting. 

“We’re here to really start the process on how we can control this invasive species,” said Jim Reilly, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Thousands of pounds of carp are already removed from the lake. The method has been used in Illinois and Missouri. While the method has already gotten thousands of pounds of Asian Carp removed from this lake, some believe it shouldn’t be the only method to remove it.

“That’s the purpose of adding this to the tools that we have to bring them out of the water. The ultimate way that you handle these is you got to cut them off at the rivers and then we got to fish them out of our lakes,” White says.

Last fall a three year, $7 million experimental fish fence was put near Barkley Dam, which uses sound and lights to steer the fish away from the dam.

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(This story was originally published on February 17, 2020)

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