Experimental ‘fish fence’ used to fight Asian Carp invasion of Tennessee waters


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has been putting together plans to deal with the arrival of Asian Carp, an invasive species to Tennessee waters, for five years.

Not only do they rob our native fish of their food sources, but the silver carp that you see jumping are also a danger to boaters.

Also present is the invasive Bighead Asian Carp. Check out this 76.4-pound Bighead that bow fishermen Dalton Driver, Brad Browning, and their friends shot earlier this month from Old Hickory Lake.

TWRA Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator Cole Harty explained these fish endanger the native fish habitat, “They feed low on the food chain and use resources that our native fish rely on.”

So how did they get here? And, how do we stop them?

“The Asian Carp typically move through our locks and dams,” Harty explained. “They move up to a dam where they are typically stopped. But with our lock systems that allow for barge traffic and navigation, they can move through those locks when the barges move through.”

To prevent these fish from coming upstream through the locks, the TWRA has installed an experimental “Bio-Acoustic Fish Fence” at Barkley Dam, the gateway from the Ohio River into the Cumberland and eventually Old Hickory Lake.

This apparatus produces bubbles through which lights are flashed, and sounds known to be audible to Asian Carp are emitted.

The hope, of course, is that this will deter the fish from entering the locks when they open.

They are now beginning to look at preliminary data. They hope to have final results on how well this technique works by 2023.

One other hopeful bit of news is that most of the fish surveyed by the TWRA have been adults. Hence, they don’t seem to be able to reproduce successfully in our waters.

TWRA also implemented an Asian Carp harvest incentive program back in September of 2018.

Since its launch, close to 7-million pounds of Asian Carp have been removed from the Tennessee and Cumberland river systems.

To be featured on Davis Nolan’s Fishing Funtacular send your impressive fishing photos to pix@wkrn.com and put the word FISH in the subject box.

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