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Asian Carp Threaten West Tennessee Waters

It’s a peaceful day out at the Paris Landing State Park marina as fisherman load and unload for a day on the water.

But when they go out on the water, they face a growing problem; Asian carp.

“They’re jumping into people’s boats and it’s getting to be a real nuisance. It gets worse every year,” said Steve Chadwick, a local fisherman.

Chadwick is a longtime henry county resident. He says the area is suffering from the carp.

“The fishing has really declined the last two or three years.”

Kentucky Lake and Paris Landing State Park are a huge part of the local economy for the city of Paris and Henry County according the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

One of the major areas they’ve seen the spread of this invasive fish species impact is in the competition circuit.

“There are so many Asian carp, its effecting them fishing, so they’re not catching as many fish. So that becomes a less desirable location to hold a tournament. That’s where our concern is, if we can’t get these tournaments to come in and fish, that’s a big source of money that our community is going to lose,” said David Hamilton, CEO of Henry County Tourism Authority.

The TWRA is working on a plan to deal with the Asian carp including involving those fishermen who have been pushed out by the invasive species.

“We’re going to increase the price per pound for commercial fisherman to twenty cents per pound to harvest these fish. That’ll help control the Asian carp population,” said Tim Broadbent of TWRA.

This is one of a few plans the TWRA will be rolling out in the coming months to better control the Asian carp population.

For the city of Paris, if the carp population continues to grow, the city faces an uncertain future.

“If this problem persists to the point that it’s like the Mississippi where you can’t do much fishing or pleasure boating, I’m not sure what we’ll do to be honest with you, to change and re-focus our tourism efforts,” added Hamilton.

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