DNR reports Asian carp progress

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reporting progress in its fight against invasive Asian carp and keep them from reaching the Great Lakes.

This week, DNR workers led state and federal officials on a tour of the upper reaches of the Illinois River and reported that the population of the carp there has dropped 93 percent since 2012.

From the Illinois DNR point of view, we're trying to keep them from the Great Lakes, and we've been very successful at doing that,” said Kevin Irons, Nuisance Species Program Manager.

To that end, the DNR has employed commercial fishers to catch and remove the problem fish. They have also worked to develop a market for the fish. Irons said further reducing the population of the fish upstream will require more efforts further south.

Focusing downstream where the population is greatest, like Peoria, like Havana, is going to be incrementally helpful,” Irons said. “So we're at 93 percent population reduction now, we start commercially harvesting even more downstream, we can drop that number even further." 

Irons said it is also important that fishermen empty livewells and clean boats to keep from moving invasive species from one body of water to another.

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