NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order establishing the Asian Carp Advisory Commission. According to a news release, the group will provide advice on mitigating the invasion of Asian carp into the state’s lakes and river systems. Asian carp were first imported to the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s and now threaten to upend aquatic ecosystems, starve out native fish and wipe out endangered mussel and snail populations. Nationally, state and federal agencies have spent roughly $607 million to stop them since 2004. The new Tennessee commission will provide its first report in October.
An expert with the Tennessee Aquarium recently explained why the carp is so damaging to the local ecosystem.
Dr. Bernie Kuhajda at the Tennessee Aquarium says “The problem with this fish is its numbers get immense, and it literally crowds out native species. It also competes for food, it eats plankton, those little small animals that float around in the river, and all of our larval fishes, whether they’re bass, brim, catfishes or little minnows and darters, they all need that plankton to eat.”