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Silver Carp Discovered Below Gavins Point Dam

Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003
For more information:  Jeff Shearer, 773-2743



PIERRE -- For several years, bighead carp and grass carp have been increasing in number below Gavin’s Point Dam and expanding their range into South Dakota’s James, Big Sioux and Vermillion Rivers. Now, Game, Fish and Parks officials say the silver carp can be added to the list of aquatic nuisance species that have invaded South Dakota.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently verified the presence of silver carp in the Missouri River near Yankton. The fish was not caught in a net, but actually jumped in the boat while biologists were conducting annual fish monitoring. When disturbed by boat motors, silver carp and bighead carp display an unusual habit of jumping out of the water, sometimes landing in the boat or striking passengers. A video clip of this jumping habit can be viewed at www.protectyourwaters.net/.

Biologists have found that young-of-year silver carp are especially difficult to distinguish from smaller gizzard shad. This finding is especially troubling since gizzard shad are commonly collected as bait.

"We urge anglers who are collecting baitfish from a lake or stream not to transport their bait to other water bodies," says Jeff Shearer, aquatic ecologist for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Bait bucket transport is a common method for exotic species to be introduced into new waters.

Similar to grass carp and bighead carp, silver carp were brought into the United States from Asia and used for aquacultural practices in the south. These fish escaped into the lower Mississippi River and its tributaries and have spread northward. Currently the black carp is the only Asian carp in the United States that has not been documented in South Dakota.