The Silver Carp Threat

by Timothy Joseph, PhD.
Chairman — Watts Bar Ecology & Fishery Council


In the 1970’s nearsighted state biologists, natural
resource managers, sewage treatment facility operators, and others made appalling errors in judgement by thinking introducing nonnative species would be a good thing. Those decisions resulted in dreadful and devastating ecological consequences we face today both in the terrestrial environment (Kudzu) and aquatic ecosystems (Asian Carp). Most biologists were against such introductions for they knew it would be very difficult if not impossible to ensure none were ever release into the natural environment. As well, they stood by their belief that a natural ecosystem should never be altered by changing the species diversity. Simply put, nothing can improve on a natural ecosystem. Yet nonnative invasive species still were imported.

Nonnative organisms often have a devastating impact on natural resources, human health, and the economy. In a natural ecosystem, organisms evolve together into a native community with checks and balances that determine population growth and species diversity. A complex web of interactions is established by primary producers, predators, herbivores, bacteria/disease, parasites, and a multitude of other organisms forming an important and complex ecological balance. An introduced species won’t have the evolutionary barriers or limits and their population can explode disrupting the natural communities and ecological process. They can outcompete and even eliminate native organisms making the ecosystem less diverse which leaves it even more susceptible to further devastation including disease, habitat alteration, and critical habitat elimination.

Read more. SILVER CARP Report.