Origins: Several species of Asian carp native to China have escaped from U.S. fish farms and are now commonly found in the Mississippi-Missouri River basin. Asian carp typically grow to a length of about four feet or more and weigh around 70 lbs., and the silver carp in particular have become notorious for jumping into power boats as those craft ply the river, according to Duane Chapman, a fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey
The silver carp is the real jumper of the four Asian carp species now found in the Mississippi-Missouri River basin. These fish seem to hate boats and they'll jump completely out of the water when a boat is going by, apparently in response to the engine noise. If you crank up a big two-stroke outboard, that really makes 'em mad.
There have been numerous reports of boaters injured by flying carp and we've even had some of our own guys hurt. It's getting dangerous to be out on the water around here.
If you've got a pretty boat and one lands inside, it can be a real mess. I had one over 10 lbs. that hit a stanchion on my boat so hard the head went one way, the body went the other and the blood went everywhere else.
So prevalent are the silver carp in certain rivers — and so thoroughly are they attracted (or enraged) by the sound of power boats — that for their own safety biologists and others who regularly traverse such waters in small motorized craft have resorted to arming themselves with trash can lids and other solid objects they only semi-jokingly refer to as CDD — "Carp Deflection Devices":
They're called "crazy fish" locally and probably a lot of unprintable other names, especially when they launch a surprise attack into the side of a boat or, worse yet, slam into a passenger. This seems to be happening with increasing frequency. Other CDDs boaters use on the lower Missouri River and on the Mississippi around St. Louis include boat cushions, plywood, even lawn chairs.
video clip linked above, which shows fish jumping into the boat of men making a nighttime river excursion, depicts the same phenomenon with a different species of fish. The video is a shortened version of a longer clip that originated on the Brazilian Pesca Rondônia web site. ("Pesca" is the Portuguese word for "fishing," and Rondônia is a northern Brazilian state in the
Amazonian region known for its great fishing rivers.) The footage was taken in the Guaporé region, on a portion of the Mequens River inside the Porto Rolins Park (a protected conservation area) where fishing is forbidden. The jumping fish shown in the video are matrinxã (Brycon cephalus), a Brazilian fresh water species.
Another video of boat-jumping Asian carp, this one shot on the Upper Mississippi, can be viewed here.
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