Asian Carp eggs found in upper Mississippi

The eggs and late-stage embryos of bighead or silver carp have been found in the Mississippi River near Lynxville in Crawford County — 250 miles north of any previously known reproducing population for the invasive carp.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday that the eggs and embryos were discovered about two weeks ago. They had been collected in May and June as scientists searched for Asian carp spawning habitat.

The finding is the latest sign that the destructive fish are slowly moving up the Mississippi River basin and into inland waters of the Midwest and Great Lakes.

“This discovery means that Asian carp spawned much farther north in the Mississippi than previously recorded,” said Leon Carl, Midwest director of the survey, in a statement.

Once the eggs were found near Lynxville, scientists examined other samples and found seven locations between Keokuk, Iowa, and Pool 9 of the Mississippi. Pool 9 runs north from Lynxville to Genoa in Vernon County.

The potential of Asian carp to infiltrate the Great Lakes is being closely watched, but the fish are already wending their way up the Mississippi from the south and have the potential to invade northern lakes of Wisconsin.

A bighead carp was found for the first time in 1996 in the St. Croix River, north of the confluence with the Mississippi. The first silver carp, known for its spectacular leaping ability, was caught in Pool 8 of the Mississippi in 2008. Pool 8 runs between Onalaska and Genoa.

But until the latest discovery, there has been no evidence of young Asian carp and no signs of spawning on the Upper Mississippi.

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