Crews from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spent all last week looking for Asian carp in the St. Croix River, but did not capture any of the invasive fish. The search was a response to the recent announcement that DNA testing suggests the carp are established in the river.
In a press release, the DNR stated that crews spent time both near the dam at St. Croix Falls, and at the mouth of the river at Prescott, WI:
On Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, crews sampled sections of the river below the St. Croix Falls dam. This is where 22 out of 50 environmental DNA (eDNA) samples taken in June suggested the presence of silver carp, an invasive species.
From Aug. 17 to Aug. 19, fisheries crews searched the lower reaches of the river near Prescott, Wis., where a bighead carp, another Asian species, was caught by a commercial fisherman in April.
Video of the search shows the agency staff retrieving nets — and native fish, like sauger, freshwater drum and a bluegill, but no silver, bighead or other invasive Asian carp species.
Anglers, public agencies, boaters and many others who care about the St. Croix are worried about Asian carp because the fish can out-compete native fish, and because bighead carp are notorious for leaping out of the water as boats pass, often harming boaters.
Search to continue
The hunt for carp will switch from DNR staff last week to a commercial angler this week:
Starting Tuesday, Aug. 23, a commercial fisherman hired by the DNR will begin using large nets to try to capture Asian carp in the St. Croix. The gear is larger than what DNR fisheries crews typically use. The fisherman may also use large seine nets. Both techniques have been effective in catching Asian carp. The contract for the commercial operation was expedited in response to the positive eDNA results announced earlier this month.