Watch Out for Flying Carp While Boating (Word Doc) - Close Window

Watch Out for Flying Carp While Boating

Boaters need to take precautions when boating on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their backwaters and tributary streams due to the unfortunate fact that Asian carp have become residents in these waters. Silver carp, a type of Asian carp accidentally introduced to Missouri waters, leap out of the water when startled by noise and vibrations caused by boats, motors and even paddling. You might have seen pictures of this on the news or on America 's Funniest Home Videos, but it is no laughing matter when a large fish jumps into your boat as you motor across the water. Boaters are occasionally injured or even knocked out of their boats.

How can you protect yourself and your friends and family? The Missouri Department of Conservation offers these following tips:

•  Wear your personal floatation device (PFD)

•  Be watchful of fish jumping or splashing near the surface of waters.

•  Avoid quieter water next to shore or near rock dykes.

•  Do not follow behind other boats that scare fish which could jump into the second boat.

•  Be especially careful in warmer weather when fish are more prone to be near the surface and are more active.

•  Keep small children away from the edges of the boat where they could be knocked into the water.

•  Passengers and boat operators in the back of the boat are more prone to being hit by jumping carp.

What should you do if one gets in your boat? Try to subdue the fish and place it on dry ground or in the trash or if you have a valid fishing permit keep the fish to eat. If at all possible, do not return the fish to the water.

Besides being a nuisance to boaters, all types of Asian carp are harmful to Missouri waters. They have seriously impacted native mussel populations to the extent of eliminating them from some areas. The carp compete with native fish species for food. They are particularly damaging to many of our young sport fishes that rely on microscopic plants and animals for food. They also compete with paddlefish populations which feed solely on plankton in our big rivers.

To learn how to reduce the spread of Asian carp and other types of aquatic nuisance species go to www.protectyourwaters.net .