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New Asian Carp Nearing Indiana, If It's Not Already Here

An adult black carp.

An adult black carp can grow to more than three feet long. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

A new kind of Asian carp could be making its way into Indiana’s waters. State officials say two black carp fish were found in the Ohio River in Illinois about 10 miles from the border. 

Just like its name suggests, black carp is a dark fish that can grow to more than three feet long. Unlike other types of Asian carp, they eat mussels. There are nine federally endangered species of mussels in Indiana and others that are in decline.

“That’s what has us concerned about black carp being introduced into our waters," says Dan Carnahan, southern region fisheries supervisor for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. 

Carnahan says with the flooding we’ve had this year, it’s possible that black carp moved into Indiana already. He says the state’s best hope to stop black carp is through fishing — so they don’t get established like other species of Asian carp, such as silver and bighead carp.

“We’ve learned from those that we’re a lot better off trying to keep the fish out than trying to manage them once they’re here,” he says.

Carnahan says commercial fishermen and bowfishing anglers are more likely to catch a black carp. If you do, the DNR says to keep the fish, note where you found it, put it on ice as soon as it's dead, and report it to the DNR at 1-866-663-9684.

Fisherman that catch the carp may be eligible for a reward from the state of Illinois.

READ MORE: Poll: Great Lakes Residents Want Swift Action On Asian Carp

Indiana environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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