Invasive Asian Carps in North America

Regulations as a Tool in Asian Carp Management

Jerry L. Rasmussen


Abstract.—Regulations are one of the few tools available in the aquatic invasive species (AIS) management toolbox. In a perfect world, they could be used to effectively prevent spread of AIS from watershed to watershed or from continent to continent. But the regulations needed to prevent invasions by species such as Asian carps in North America and the United States are slow to evolve and used reluctantly by federal authorities because they are heavily influenced by regional and national political and economic considerations. State regulations, on the other hand, suffer from the influence of their own local and regional political and economic issues. Some states maintain strict policies and regulations with regard to Asian carp possession and use, but neighboring states may not. And since 48 of the 50 U.S. states are connected by a vast network of rivers, waterways, streams and roadways, invasions continue to occur and to spread. Consequently, Asian carp management in the United States is largely controlled by “least common denominator” state regulation that applies in a given watershed and beyond. This paper presents an overview of Asian carp regulations in the 50 U.S. states and offers suggestions for improved regulations.