Kentucky is going forward with using electrofishing to monitor and capture Asian carp, one of the most dangerous species of fish.
In a video shared on Facebook by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, hundreds of fish leap out of the water as a boat unleashes an electrical current through the water at Barkley Dam.
The men onboard the boat captured the fish with nets in the video, and piled them on top of each other as the electrical currents continued to send the fish in the water shooting in the air.
Stunning fish has become a practical and common way to count the population or tag the fish, the department told CNN on Thursday. The fish are only temporarily shocked from the electrical current and are not killed.
“It’s just to give folks an idea of how many fish we’re dealing with below the dam. We collect and try to distribute to them to buyers,” Ron Brooks, the department’s fisheries division director, told CNN.
Brooks added that the caught fish were taken to buyers who make fertilizer, fish bait and food products for humans. Before being sold, the fish are stunned and harvested.
Asian carp, native to Asia, have been a problem in the U.S. since they appeared in the 1970’s, according to Scientific American, which notes that four species of carp — bighead, black, grass and silver — are worrying ecologists over their growing population in the Mississippi River system.
Asian carp can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, and spread into new habitats quickly, the website states. They are also capable of jumping over low dams, and have spread into countless bodies of water due to flooding.
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Scientific American adds that the federal government’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force considers Asian cap to be a “nuisance species” and encourages intervention by the government to attempt to stop the species from spreading to the Great Lakes.
Despite an elaborate underwater electric fence created to keep them contained, the fish have continued to spread and are expected to keep doing so throughout other parts of the U.S. through river systems that connect up with the Mississippi.
According to Scientific American, researchers estimate that even if Asian carp do not enter the Great Lakes, they could still affect freshwater fisheries in as many as 31 states in the U.S., which represents about 40 percent of the continent.