TN wildlife officials getting creative in Asian carp invasion - WSMV Channel 4

TN wildlife officials getting creative in Asian carp invasion

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Wildlife officers told us they were coming, and now the Asian carp are in Tennessee and out of control. The problem is so bad, in fact, the state is now having to get creative to get rid of the invasive species.

The state has considered coming up with some sort of chemical to put in the water that would only kill Asian carp, but that's a long-term solution possibly 10 to 15 years away.

What they need is something to fix the problem right now, and state officials say they now have an idea that just might work.

"They will take our lakes and rivers over until where you can't run a boat or a Sea-Doo. You can hang it up," said fisherman J.R. Johnson.

Asian carp aren't supposed to be here. They're an invasive species that threaten native ecosystems.

"We're concerned now," said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Bobby Wilson.

Plus, they can jump out of the water, which can be dangerous for boaters and swimmers.

Johnson calls himself the "Carp Buster," and he has a plan.

There's already a market for the fish in China, so why not here?

"We're looking at starting fisheries on Asian carp in the state of Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois," Johnson said.

The state now backs the idea, and officials are encouraging other fisherman to jump on board.

"They're a really good-tasting fish," Wilson said.

Wildlife officers are hoping for a win-win: create new jobs and bring in money.

Plus, they want to put an end to the Asian carp invasion.

"If we can get the commercial fisherman to harvest them and to the processing plants and to the markets, then that will be a way to control their numbers," Wilson said.

There's a big stigma for some people with eating carp because common carp are bottom-feeders.

But Asian carp eat plankton and are considered filter feeders.

Wildlife officers are now trying to explain that difference to people so maybe they'll be more inclined to try it.

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