Asian carp shocked

Asian carp swarm a biologists’ boat during a shocking demonstration in late July at Barkley Dam.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is proposing a $14 million package to fight the invasive species of Asian carp.

According to an article in Thursday’s Tennessean, the package could be enacted when the full Senate votes on the federal budget.

Tennessee Wildlife Federation CEO Michael Butler told the paper Alexander’s support wasn’t unprecedented.

“Senator Alexander has always been highly supportive of fishermen and our natural resources, so once we explained the dilemma, he got it very quickly, as did his staff,” he said.

Butler said he was confident the issue would receive some funding, even if the full $14 million is not granted.

The package must now withstand a Senate conference committee, then be passed by Congress before it is sent to President Donald Trump for approval.

“I think everybody understands the problem,” Butler said. “It’s just a matter of making sure we get through all the different procedural steps to make sure it gets included and passed in the budget.”

Asian carp, found in subspecies including black, silver, grass and bighead, reproduce at an alarming rate and have no natural predators in the wild.

They eat insatiably and are equipped to consume plankton, mussels, plants and snails that other fish build their diet on.

Butler said different methods could be used to combat rising Asian carp populations.

One of these methods includes putting barriers on locks in order to prevent the movement of fish from one reservoir to the other.

These barriers could be made with sonar noise and bubble curtains, deterring fish from getting too close to the lock.

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