Black Carp: Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment of an Introduced Fish

Chapter 11: Introduction of Black Carp into the United States


Reasons as to how and why black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus entered and remain in the United States are complex. Much of the information gathered here is based on unpublished records, mostly on personal communications with fish farmers and university researchers, and with state and federal biologists and managers. The black carp originally entered the United States in 1973 as a “contaminant” in imported grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella or other Chinese carp stocks. These fish reportedly came from Asia and were sent to a private fish farm in Arkansas. During the period shortly after its arrival, black carp was not produced commercially in the United States, and the species probably was eliminated through attrition of handling and transfer (H. K. Dupree, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Stuttgart, Arkansas, personal communication with J. McCann, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gainesville, Florida 1991). Chen et al. (1990) noted that most farmers assumed the failure was due to the black carp’s dietary need for snails. According to M. Freeze (Keo Fish Farm, Keo, Arkansas, personal communication 1995), all of these original black carp were entrusted to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for research purposes. During the late 1970s, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission attempted to spawn the original black carp introduced into the United States; however, state researchers were not successful because these fish were not old enough to be sexually mature.