University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

What do we mean by ‘invasive Asian carp’?

There are, in general, two kinds of carp; Asian and Indian forgetting for the moment that India is in Asia.

There are, according to Wikipedia, eight kinds of Asian carp “introduced outside their native range”.

These fish are critically important in China as food sources and four of these species (grass, silver, bighead, and black carp) are considered the four domesticated fish.  Some species were imported to Europe during the middle ages and became highly valued food fish there also.  Globally they are important in aquaculture and as game fish.

Of these carp listed here, the following are understood to be invasive fish in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota DNR,

It seems, according to the DNR that there are not any non-invasive carp in Minnesota.  All carp are invasive here.  All carp damage the native ecosystems. Common carp have been in Minnesota since the 1870’s when they were brought here as game fish, and were actively stocked in streams and lakes as such. <>

So that begs the question, why are we so concerned about the four newer species of carp whose range is recently spreading into Minnesota?  Is it the cinematic appeal of the leaping silver carp?  Is it the stories of ecosystems further south nearly denuded by these fish? Is it a more sociological fear of invasion of homeland?

If all carp are invasive, here at least, and most carp are Asian, aren’t we being doubly redundant referring to “invasive Asian carp”?  Perhaps we’re splitting etymological hairs here, but it seems that the problem may simply be carp.


Related Posts

One Comment

  1. JoeMay 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    As a largemouth buffalo fish, I’d have to say that the carp aren’t as scary as the gar or catfish chasing them. If prejudice was taken against them instead of the asian carp, maybe they would have to deal with all of the chemical warfare and being sent to the “Grinder.” All I have to do is find food while avoiding getting tagged twice a day… In other words, I agree that labeling has a negative effect on addressing carp in a non-native ecosystem.

Contact Us!
Send us a note at to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi
A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.