May 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm
SARTELL, Minn. (KNSI) - The fishing season isn't even a week old, but there is already some troubling news in Sartell.
Last weekend, a 25 pound grass carp was caught in the Mississippi River, north of the dam. According to the DNR, the fish is an exotic species that has only been found in the state much further South. Because authorities believe the fish could not have gotten past the dams at Coon Rapids, St. Cloud and Sartell, it likely escaped through flood waters from a private pond, or was released intentionally.
There are state regulations in place to prevent the importation of these species and transfers between lakes. As a result, the DNR has not seen a lot of invasive fish spread though overland transfer compared to other animals and plants.
“Minnesota has strong laws against introducing exotic species into our public waters because it’s a serious matter,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Waters Division. “Invasive species like this can pose a significant threat to our native fisheries, recreational opportunities, and ecosystems.”
While the problems caused by bighead and silver carp are raised more frequently, grass carp is another species that can cause environmental harm. They are consumers of aquatic vegetation, can grow to 70 pounds, and can cause water quality problems.
Grass carp previously have been found in southeastern Minnesota, but they are not known to reproduce in Minnesota. A preliminary examination of the 36-inch female caught near Sartell, however, found what appeared to be viable eggs.
Possession of grass carp is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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