Several sources in Kentucky — including our colleagues at WKMS in Murray — are reporting on a massive and sudden die-off of silver carp in the Cumberland River below the Lake Barkley dam, downriver from Nashville and Clarksville. Estimates of “tens of thousands”, maybe as many as 500,000 of the invasive Asian carp species, are believed to have perished in a 24-hour period.
The cause of the die-off is unknown and being investigated, but Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Paul Rister has this to say to online newspaper KyForward:
“Whenever there is one species of fish, you are definitely thinking viral or bacterial. It’s not anything water quality wise. If it was oxygen-related or chemical related you would see other species”
The silver carp — known for its high jumping skills that can be a danger to boaters — is one of four invasive carp that are illegal to “possess or transport” in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources agency.
The spread of silver carp is so worrisome that wildlife officials are researching special chemicals to poison them.
Here is some detailed information about Asian carp distribution in the U.S. as of last year.