For the first time, biologists have confirmed invasive silver carp in Texas waters.
Two of the Asian natives were shot by a bowhunter in Choctaw Creek, a tributary of the Red River, about 15 miles downstream from Lake Texoma.
The bowhunter, Stephen Banaszak, reported the finding and delivered the two carp to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials.
Silver carp had previously been found in other areas of the Red River but only in Oklahoma waters, TPWD officials said.
“Invasive carp pose a significant risk to Lake Texoma’s ecosystem and boaters and there is adequate flow and upstream river area for them to become established and reproduce in the lake if introduced,” said Dan Bennett, TPWD fisheries management biologist.
All carp species in the United States are invasive species. Bighead, black, grass and silver carp were imported in the 1970s to control nuisance algal blooms in wastewater treatment plants and aquaculture ponds as well as for human food.
Within 10 years, the carp escaped confinement during flood events and spread to the waters of the Mississippi River basin and other large rivers like the Missouri and Illinois.
Silver carp and its relatives are not predatory fish, but the discovery of them in Texas waters is nevertheless cause for major concern. These carp species feed on algae to such an extent, native fish species eventually cannot compete and die out.
To prevent the spread of these invasive species, which look much like shad when small, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission passed regulations making it illegal to transport any live non-game fish, including fish as bait, from water bodies where they have been found.
Anyone who catches either silver or bighead carp in Texas waters is asked to report the sighting with location information and photos to [email protected]
Silver and bighead carp are prohibited exotic species in Texas and must be killed upon possession by beheading, gutting, gill-cutting or other means or placed on ice. Neither species can be possessed live.