The Asian Carp Advisory Commission was established in an executive order signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee in September to study and provide advice regarding the best methods for mitigating the invasion of Asian carp into the state’s lakes and river systems.
The Commission, chaired by Tennessee Senator Mike Bell, had its first meeting in early December at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II office in Nashville. Frank Fiss, TWRA Chief of Fisheries, provided an overview of the status of Asian carp and ongoing control efforts. The commission also discussed a need to measure the economic value of resources that are threatened by Asian carp. The commission will provide an interim report of their activities in February 2021.
“Tennessee’s lakes and rivers are a critical feature of our state’s economy and natural beauty,” Gov. Lee said upon signing Executive Order 62 to establish the Commission. “This Commission will help us protect and preserve native fish species, aquatic life, commercial and recreational fishing, and other water activities from the increasing threat of Asian carp to key ecosystems in our state.”
The TWRA’s battle against Asian carp has been ongoing. The TWRA was recently awarded nearly $1.7 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct carp control and monitoring in the coming year. This amount is a substantial increase from previous years that will advance the agency’s capacity to control and monitor carp populations. Asian carp work will be conducted in the Tennessee and Cumberland basin as well as Reelfoot Lake. Plans include providing incentives for the commercial removal of Asian carp and monitoring population.