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Crazy carp boarding boats, injuring passengers

By Associated Press


ST. LOUIS -- Crazy carp have invaded Missouri's rivers.

Two species of nonnative carp have been jumping into boats, injuring occupants and damaging the watercraft.

A state fisheries biologist motoring near Columbia had a filling knocked out of his tooth by a high-flying fish that struck him on the side of the head. Another state biologist in the St. Charles area was seriously hurt when he was hit by a giant carp.

Brian Todd of the Missouri Department of Conservation said the big head carp and silver carp were brought to private fish hatcheries from Asia by the aquaculture industry. They were intended to eat excess algae and waste in aquaculture ponds -- which grow fish for food as well as bait and tropical fish. But they escaped in floodwaters in 1993, 1995 and 2002.

"This could be an indefinite problem," Todd said. "They are safe to eat, but ecologically they could damage the mussel population and are competing with native fish for food. We are going to hear more and more over the next few years about the problems these fish are causing, especially injuries to boaters and anglers."

Todd said the carp have been spotted in many of Missouri's rivers, including throughout the Missouri River.

"The sound of a propeller under water makes these fish go crazy," Todd said. "The fish don't jump if you're sitting there without the motor on, but the higher the RPMs, the greater the noise, the higher these fish jump."

2003 The New York Times Company

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