PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to remove carp from Milford Reservoir. Research indicates large numbers of carp can increase the potential for harmful blue-green algae blooms because of the sediment the fish stir up while feeding.
KDWPT fisheries biologists work diligently to control sport fish numbers through stocking, habitat enhancement and regulations such as creel and length limits. However, large populations of nonsport, or rough, fish such as carp and buffalo are more difficult to manage and can negatively impact the populations of more desirable species. Carp and buffalo are difficult for anglers to catch because of the fish’s diet and eating habits, nor are they desired or targeted by anglers. Buffalo are filter feeders, eating zooplankton, and carp are bottom feeders, eating zooplankton, insects, crustaceans and worms. In addition to increasing water turbidity and potential for blue-green algae blooms, large populations of these rough fish compete for space and food with sport fish.
Through a bid process, a commercial fisherman is contracted to catch and remove rough fish from Kansas reservoirs. The removal process usually takes place when large numbers of carp and buffalo can be caught without impacting sport fish. Commercial fishing operations are going on this spring at Milford, and anglers may see nets in the upper end.
At times, the market for the meat of certain rough fish species makes the effort profitable. However, KDWPT subsidizes the removal of carp, paying for each pound of carp removed and ensuring that commercial efforts continue even when markets are down.
Agency officials hope that removing carp from Milford will improve water quality and reduce the potential for blue-green algae blooms, while also providing benefits to sport fish.