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Monday, January 29 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
ASIAN CARP: Age and Growth Demographics of Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River

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AUTHORS. Cortney Cox, James Lamer, Allison Lenaerts - Western Illinois University; Brent Knights, US Geological Survey; Kevin Irons, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Fish age and growth can be used to infer spawning success, recruitment and population age structure. Understanding these dynamics are especially important when assessing the impacts and management options of invasive species. Bighead and silver carp are invasive species that have established throughout much of the Mississippi River Basin, but their spread into the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) has been restricted by Lock and Dam 19 at Keokuk, IA.  Aging structures obtained from this population above Lock and Dam 19 allow us to determine growth rates and age-at-maturity in this emerging, poorly understood, low-density population. We have collected length and weight data from adult silver carp (n=4912) and bighead carp (n=1269) captured with commercial fishing methods (i.e., gill nets and seines). Pectoral spines, post-cleithra, and vertebrae have been removed from 1229 Asian carp, 30 fish per 50mm size class, to quantify age and growth in pools 16-19 on the Mississippi River. Ages and back calculated growth will be used to better understand spawning success, recruitment and population age structure to inform control and containment actions. Growth in pools 16-19 is similar amongst the pools, possibly a result of Asian carp movement amongst them. However, these fish show significantly higher growth rates than the fish of the much denser population of pool 20, below Lock and Dam 19.

Monday January 29, 2018 2:20pm - 2:40pm CST