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GLIN==> US Fish & Wildlife Service Seeks Scientific, Economic Information onBighead Carp, a Potential Injurious Species Candidate


Richard Greenwood
    USFWS Liaison to USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office
    Team Leader Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
Great Lakes National Program Office
77 West Jackson Blvd. (G-17J)
Chicago, IL 60604
Ph:  312-886-3853  Fax:  312-353-2018
Email:  rich_greenwood@fws.gov or greenwood.richard@epa.gov

For Release: September 17, 2003
Ken Burton 202-208-5657


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service served notice today that it will begin
to collect scientific and economic information on bighead carp to help
determine if the fish should be placed on the list of injurious species,
which would prohibit their importation into the United States and their
shipment across State lines.

Part of the Service action is in response to appeals from 25 Members of
Congress who represent districts near the Great Lakes, which has a $4
billion fishery at stake, and 10 state conservation and other organizations
that favor the bighead carp's listing.  The same inquiry was initiated for
the silver carp on July 23, 2003.

Bighead carp are already established in the Mississippi River basin.
Biologists are concerned that the fish could slip through a manmade canal
into the Great Lakes, where the voracious eaters would threaten the food
supply available to native fish.  Great Lakes fisheries already are
struggling against other invasive species, including the sea lamprey, round
goby and Zebra mussel, among others.

If the bighead carp were placed on the injurious species list, it would be
illegal to move them across state lines or to import them into the United
States without a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bighead carp have been used by catfish farmers because they feed on
phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus that they filter out of the water.

Bighead carp were imported into the U.S. in 1973 and stocked for
phytoplankton control and as a food fish.  By the mid-1970s, carp were
being raised at six Federal, State and private facilities and had been
stocked in municipal sewage lagoons.  Silver carp have been recorded in 12

Comments on the notice of inquiry, published in today's Federal Register,
must be submitted within 60 days by mail, to: Chief, Division of
Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax
Drive, Suite 322, Arlington, Virginia, 22203; or transmitted to the same
address via fax at 703-358-1800; or comments may be sent by Email to:
bigheadcarp@fws.gov. Public comment will be evaluated after the 60-day
cutoff and biologists will determine if bighead carp warrant listing as
injurious wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people.  The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of
small wetlands and other special management areas.  It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations.  The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts.  It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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