If you have seen video or pictures of bighead carp jumping into boats, you know the importance of stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota. The carp jump up to ten feet out of lakes and rivers hitting boaters and put native fish at risk as they dominate the food supply. Earlier this month, silver and bighead carp were caught by commercial fishermen in the Mississippi River near Winona.
Representative McNamara and I will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the impact of bighead carp and steps we can take to try to stop them. We will be joined by Steve Hirsch, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director of Economical Resources at 7pm on April 9 at the Pheasant Hill Library in Hastings.
The Legislature is currently considering legislation that will increase hunting and fishing license fees to boost funding to Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund. The uses of the Fund include fish and wildlife management, ecological services and regulation enforcement. This funding will help the DNR as they work to slow the spread of invasive species in Minnesota. Coupled with funding to start the research center at the University of Minnesota, the fee increase is something that needs to be passed this session.
On April 9th we will discuss the various ways the DNR is trying to stop the spread of bighead carp. Rebuilding dams, closing locks, creating bubble and electric barriers, introducing natural predators, and encouraging Minnesotans to fish for and eat the carp are some of the ideas being considered.
I encourage anyone that is interested in this important topic to join us. With the help of Director Hirsch and Representative McNamara we can have an informed conversation about the current status and the state’s next steps.