WIU students research growing trend of massive Asian carp in the Mississippi

WARSAW, Illinois--- Western Illinois students working at the  Kibbe Biological Research Station in Warsaw, Illinois for the summer are fishing for answers in the Mississippi River.

They are trying to explain why they are finding more and more groups of large Asian carp in New Boston Bay and near the Quad City Area.

"We frequently get 40 to 50 pounders out of New Boston Bay, (other places you) get 60-70 pounders as well. They're becoming less of a wow factor now," says program adviser Jim Lamer.

The average size for Asian carp is usually between 4 and 20 pounds, and they are known to be very harmful to the ecosystem.

" Asian carp are bad for the ecosystem because they eat bio plankton and they eat zoo plankton... A lot of out native fishes for example the paddle fishes that's what they eat (as well), says student Charmayne Anderson.

The group credits the growing size of the fish to a lack of competition in their environment which allows them to grow larger at a younger age.

However Lamer says seeing these big fish pop up more frequently, is not necessarily a bad thing.

"If the growth rates are increasing through times, that means we're making some progress and we can see more growth and faster growth that means we're probably knocking the populations down some," says Lamer.

The students plan to fish out more Asian carp by Credit Island and the Rock River in the next two weeks.