Tony Sindt of the DNR with a bighead carp caught this month on the Minnesota River.
A bighead carp has been caught in the Minnesota River, the species’ first confirmed capture there and a sign that aggressive invasive fish continue their penetration of the state’s waterways.
The fish was caught last week near New Ulm by a commercial fisherman, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Wednesday. It weighed 25 pounds, was a male, and was the second invasive carp confirmed in the Minnesota River. A grass carp was caught in the same location in December.
“We have suspected that bighead carp have occasionally entered the Minnesota River from the Mississippi River, but this is the first confirmed capture,” said DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer.
Frohnauer said the find doesn’t prove that the carp are reproducing in the Minnesota or have established a population there. But he said the DNR “is concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in the Minnesota River watershed and has several projects in the works with partners around the state.”
Minnesota State University, Mankato is evaluating the Minnesota River for use of barriers to prevent the further spread of Asian carp, the DNR said. This includes flood plain analysis and habitat suitability for carp life stages. Data collection and analysis has begun, with a final report to the DNR due by December 2017
Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s, the DNR said. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota water.