Asian Carp in Kentucky Lake

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Asian Carp Causing Problems on Kentucky Lake and Tennessee River

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

EVA BEACH, Tenn.- In a recent local competition fishermen caught more than 80,000 pounds of Asian Carp in just a few days, but locals say there are plenty more. So many in fact they are threatening both recreation and sport in local waters.

Asian Carp by the thousands are flooding Kentucky Lake, causing a problem for fishermen, regular boaters and the other fish. With no natural predators the Asian carp are single-handedly eating the entire food supply.

Steve McCadams is a professional fishermen very familiar with the lakes around West Tennessee. "I think the public is not really aware of what they can do and how thick they are here in the Kentucky Lake," he said.

Experts say Asian Carp were first brought into Arkansas and due to flooding got loose in multiple lakes and rivers across the country and here in Tennessee. The Carp are now both growing in physical size and numbers and can reach up to 70 pounds.

McCadams said anywhere the Carp population grows, tourism dies.
"Tourism around here people travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars in our restaurants and hotels and rippling jobs around the lake. Here it could be devastating. Every place in the north the Asian carp have been in, their tourism has suffered," he said.

Making matters worse, loud noises like the sound of a boat cause the fish to jump. With boaters traveling at high speeds along the waters the jumping fish have caused serious injuries to people, including broken noses.

Garry Matson is the Bethel University head fishing coach and a professional fishermen and said he too is worried about the pluming Carp population. "Can you imagine a 40 pound fish landing in your boat? Or hitting you as your boating or Sea Dooing across the lake?" he said.

Steve McCadams said he believes the best and only way to combat the unwanted fish is to make catching Asian Carp a sport. He said encouraging people to eat the fish would also help.

"We can never eradicate them but we can control them, and I think commercial fisherman will be the solution to that problem."