Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, joined 14 House colleagues in sending a letter to the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee requesting $4.4 million in funding for state Aquatic Nuisance Species plans and $25 million in funding for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Asian carp management in Fiscal Year 2020.
“Asian carp decimate the American ecosystems they invade,” Rep. Brooks said. “Now, Asian carp threaten Tennessee Valley rivers and lakes. Aggressive measures must be undertaken to prevent Asian carp from ruining the ecosystem, fishing, and recreational boating in the Tennessee River. In that vein, I support robust federal intervention to eradicate Asian carp from the Tennessee River basin.”
“Asian carp can grow to 100 pounds but more commonly weigh between 20 and 40 pounds,” Brooks said. “Because of their large size, no North American fish prey on adult carp. The fish are also dangerous because they jump high in front of approaching boats, sometimes causing serious property damage and injury to boaters. Asian carp reproduce rapidly and invade eco-systems quickly, crowding out native fish for food and space. In parts of the Illinois River, Asian carp are nearly 90% of aquatic life.”
“Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries recently received word that Asian carp have invaded Northwest Alabama’s Pickwick Lake, and Fisheries Section Chief Nick Nichols is afraid Asian carp will make the Tennessee River home.,” Congressman Brooks warned. “Asian carp have used locks to enter Pickwick Lake and are poised to invade Lake Guntersville, according to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss.”
“Lake Guntersville is one of the best bass fishing lakes in America,” Brooks concluded. “Roughly a dozen major annual fishing tournaments generate significant economic activity. An Asian carp invasion of Lake Guntersville would be disastrous to the lake’s ecosystem, fishing, and recreational boating. Increased funding for state and federal agencies’ Asian carp management programs is imperative if we are to protect Tennessee Valley waters.”
Asian carp were introduced in the southeast to help control weeds and parasites in aquaculture operations, these fish soon spread up the Mississippi River system where they have been crowding out native fish populations not used to competing with such aggressive invaders. The carps’ presence in such numbers is also compromising water quality and killing off sensitive species such as freshwater mussels.
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.