LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Anything fish and wildlife can be brought up at Commission meetings. Friday two recommended changes took the fast track: changes to amp up the fight to eradicate an invasive fish species and save industries like tourism and sports fishing in the Commonwealth.
Asian Carp are not just living in Kentucky waterways — they are flourishing, being netted by the thousands and thousands of pounds on each and every haul.
“They are thick and it is an emergency for sure,” Marcus Mann, commercial carp fisherman, said.
There are more incentives for commercial carp fishing, and now people are moving for fewer restrictions to rid the destructive and invasive fish from popular lakes and rivers.
“There's a good chance that they can get more money for Asian Carp,” Kentucky Fisheries Director Ron Brooks said.
Brooks has been spearheading efforts — arrowheads included — to kill carp. He supports an emergency recommendation to allow the sale of those fish landed during bow fishing tournaments as well as the idea to open up commercial fishing on weekends in popular boating places like Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley from April through September.
“We want to get rid of Asian Carp and working very hard to do that,” Brooks said.
Two more days — two more opportunities to make some money.
Commercial Fisherman Marcus Mann is a veteran on the front line of the problem.
“More often than not this time of year, it's let's try not to put too many in the boat,” Mann joked about pulling in so many fish fearing he would overload the boat.
Mann said he wanted new fishermen hoping to move in to capitalize on minimizing the problem to know what they're doing.
“We will emphasize that if you are not an experienced commercial fisherman, we do not recommend you be on the water until you are very familiar with it," Brooks said.
Not something commercial fisherman are used to hearing: “we're going to fish these things to extinction if we can,” Brooks said.
From here, both recommendations (the sale of legally caught carp — including fish caught by bow fishing and opening up commercial fishing seven days a week) are headed to the state capitol, where Fish and Wildlife hope and expect both will become law and be in place by mid to late April.