Thanks to new subsidies offered by the state, Lyon County and the Kentucky Lake Vacationland/Lodging Association, commercial fishermen now have more incentive than ever to help tackle the Asian carp crisis in our local lakes and rivers.
As it stands now, prior to subsidies, fishermen receive the following payment for removing carp:
• 8 pounds and up, Silver Carp: 18 cents per pound
• 7 pounds and under, Silver Carp: 10 cents per pound
• Bighead Carp: 20 cents per pound
• Grass Carp: 20 cents per pound
With the recent return of TVA funds to 39 counties, a bill which Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White said State Senator Stan Humphries helped push through, Lyon County has been able to set aside $41,000 to use for carp subsidies. Currently, they offer fishermen 4-cents per pound.
White said there are currently six fishermen participating in the county's program. To receive the county subsidy, the carp removed must be from Lyon County waters in Lake Barkley only.
The Kentucky Lake Vacationland/Lodging Association's subsidy, which is 2-cents per pound, was funded by a War on Carp Poker Run held in June, which raised about $6,000.
According to a press release from the Association, their subsidy applies under the following terms:
"Beginning August 1, 2019 and running through August 30, 2019, the Lodging Association will pay the two-cent per pound on Asian Carp caught from Kentucky Lake, (Marshall County line north to dam) and Lake Barkley (Trigg County line to the dam) in Kentucky, based on the net weight entered on the "Pink Slip" from Kentucky Fish Center in Eddyville, KY. Commercial Fishermen will be asked to present their pink copy that has been verified by Kentucky Fish Center in Eddyville with a documented fishing location of either Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley. At that time, a check will be issued for two-cents per pound for Asian Carp only based on the Net weight."
The state also currently offers a 5-cent per pound subsidy for Asian carp.
White said subsidies aren't the only way they're fighting this War on Carp.
There is currently work underway to install a barrier at Barkley Dam, which uses bubbles and sound to repel the carp from entering the lake. He said the project was due to be completed in July, but installation was delayed due to flooding. They are now looking at a completion date in September.
These barriers are pricy, coming in at around $1 million each (with U.S. Fish & Wildlife footing the bill for the one currently being installed at Lake Barkley). In order to fund this, and other efforts to eradicate the invasive species, White has lobbied hard to get federal funding for the projects (even traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with officials), which he said he hopes Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been in contact with local officials about the issue, will be able to get included in the budget.
White said they are also discussing the possibility of a Unified-Modified method of removing carp, which could take place early next year. He explained this method would most likely take place on Kentucky Lake, where large, deep bays are plentiful. This process involves the collaboration of several commercial fishermen. Carp are herded into these large bays, where they are then removed en masse via crane. White said in other areas where this method is used they have seen as much as 100,000 pounds of carp removed at a time.
While there is still a lot of work to be done, he shared that many lake-goers have told him they have seen a measured decrease in Asian carp sightings and issues on our local waterways since efforts to control the invasion began.
Though there have not yet been efforts to quantify just how effective the War on Carp has been, aside from anecdotal evidence, White said plans for Fish & Wildlife to begin measuring the progress are on the horizon.
For more information about the efforts to eradicate the invasive Asian carp species from western Kentucky's waterways, visit WarOnCarp.com.