When it comes to fishing for the Silver Carp, it is actually possible to just sit back, relax, and watch as the fishes leap right into your boat and even onto your lap! In fact, the Silver Carp might even come right at your face, injuring you in the process. The Silver Carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, can grow up to 18 kilograms (kg) and leap as high as 3 metres in the air (“Silver Carp” Wikipedia).
The sound and vibration of motorboats tend to send the Silver Carps into frenzy as they often mistake the disturbances as caused by predators (“Silver Carp in Action.avi” Youtube Channel). The Silver Carps are therefore scared into leaping out of the water and studies have shown that this response “is more pronounced with higher RPMs and greater motor noise” (Kolar et al., 2005). People therefore often mistook the Silver Carps for flying fishes.
With Silver Carps that can weigh up to 18 kg and boat speeds that can reach more than 32 kilometres per hour (Kolar et al., 2005), the impact with the incoming leaping fish can be very great and even disastrous. According to Meersman (2004), a boater Marcy Poplett was struck in the face by a Silver Carp on the Illinois River on October 2003. She was knocked off her watercraft and fell into the river unconscious. Fortunately, she was rescued but with a broken nose, concussion and injured back among other injuries (Kolar et al., 2005). On another occasion, an impactful encounter with a Silver Carp broke the jaw of an American teenager, Seth Russell, leaving him in need of oral surgery to wire some teeth back together. These are the two more notable cases among a host of other injuries that resulted from “the attack by the invasive species (the Silver Carp in this case)” (Heok, 2008).
The Silver Carp is an Asian carp that was first introduced to North America from China “to control algae growth in aquaculture and municipal wastewater treatment facilities” (“Silver Carp” Wikipedia). They however, managed to escape from captivity and due to their high proliferation quantity and rate, by 2003, they had spread into the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri rivers and others (“Silver Carp” Wikipedia). As filter feeders, their huge number is a major threat to native filter feeders (Aitkin et al., 2008). This direct competition has resulted in a great reduction in the amount of native species in the rivers and this has affected the biodiversity of the region. There is definitely a pressing need to reduce the massive number of Silver Carps in the rivers. The high population density of the Silver Carp renders their massive, incessant acrobatic leaps out of the water, and into the air, a breathtaking sight to behold.
This “superswarm” is a man-made swarm that could be attributed to the negligence of man for not ensuring that the Silver Carps that were imported were sterile and effectively held captive. It is therefore unjustified to label the Silver Carps as an “invasive species” or to state that they “cause[d] serious damage” and are guilty of “seriously injuring boaters” (Kolar et al., 2005). All these appear to point to the negative, harmful aspect of nature by putting the blame on nature. The accidents and adverse effects are a consequence of Man’s interference with nature. It shows how Man has upset the balance of nature and has ironically caused harm to themselves instead.
The Silver Carp man-made “superswarm” parallels that of the African Bees which were also imported from one native place (Africa) to another (Brazil) as a result of Man’s another attempt to temper with nature to make “better honey producers” (Stanford & Hall, 2009).
Refer to article “The Brazilian Honeybee,” by Charles D. Michener.
“African Honey Bee: What You Need to Know,” by Malcolm T. Sanford and H. Glenn Hall. University of Florida IFAS Extension, (September 2005). URL: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG11300.pdf (accessed on 2 April 2010).
“Asian Carps of the Genus Hypophthalmichthys (Pisces, Cyprinidae) ― A Biological Synopsis and Environmental Risk Assessment,” by Cindy S.Kolar et al. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (12 April 2005). URL: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/OtherDocuments/ACBSRAFinalReport2005.pdf (acessed on 2 April 2010).
“Columbia River Basin Asian Carps Risk Evaluation,” by J. Kevin Aitkin et al. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (22 February 2008). URL: http://www.asiancarp.org/Documents/AsianCarp_PNWRiskEvaluation_022208.pdf (accessed on 2 April 2010).
“Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Silver Carp 2000,” by Uland Thomas. Flickr, 1 May 2009. URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10362071@N03/3493258530/ (accessed on 1 April 2010).
“Leaping Silver carp breaks teenager’s jaw,” by Heok Hee Ng. Practical Fishkeeping, (9 September 2008). URL: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=1752 (accessed on 2 April 2010).
“Silver Carp in Action.avi,” by Youtube Channel, 25 February 2010. URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD9DeAiUhCA (accessed on 1 April 2010).
“Silver Carp”. Wikipedia, (22 March 2010). URL: http://en.”Silver Carp” Wikipediapedia.org/”Silver Carp” Wikipedia/Silver_carp (accessed on 2 April 2010).
“The Brazilian Honeybee,” by Charles D. Michener. BioScience, (September 1973). URL: http://www.jstor.org.libproxy1.nus.edu.sg/stable/1296479?seq=1&Search=yes&term=bees&term=african&term=facts&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dafrican%2Bbees%2Bfacts%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Dafrican%2Bbees%2Bimport%2Bto%2Bbrazil%26hp%3D25%26wc%3Don&item=7&ttl=1224&returnArticleService=showArticle&resultsServiceName=doBasicResultsFromArticle (accessed on 3 April 2010).