Illinois DNR paying $100 for catching an invasive fish species

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Calling all fishermen! The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will pay you hard-earned cash for catching black carp.

The foreign, invasive species is swimming dangerously close to Indiana waters. Black carp are in the Asian carp family, and several of its cousins are already Hoosiers. Black carp eat mussels and snails, including some that are endangered in Indiana.

They are moving up the Ohio River drainage, and if they hit the Wabash River they will have access to much of the state’s waters.

If you catch one, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Illinois DNR will give you $100.

“Absolutely,” laughed Indy fisherman Heather Stone when asked if she would catch one for $100. “With something we enjoy to do, and get paid for it? Absolutely!”

Indiana DNR said the black carp were brought into the United States for the aquaculture industry, and they were also mixed in with the stocking of grass carp in the 1970s. They are used to eat snails out of aquaculture ponds and hatchery ponds.

“Flooded over time,” said Indiana DNR South Region Fishery Supervisor Dan Carnahan of those ponds. “They are usually in lowland areas, and that’s how they escape out of those ponds.” Now they are moving through the rivers and streams. “It’s pretty normal for any new species, they want to expand their range.”

The Indiana DNR said most will be caught by commercial or bow fishermen. They said black carp don’t go after the bait most fishermen use. If you snag one, be sure to call the DNR, and make sure to keep it on ice until they arrive.

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