You may wonder to yourself if you should kill carp after you catch them. Most likely, you have heard people talk about carp and how they can damage the environment. In many places, carp have become a problem for local diversity.
Should carp be killed? Check your state regulations to know the specifics, but in most places, carp should be killed. Carp aren’t native to North America, and as such, can’t be released back into the waters. The fish can produce up to 300,000 eggs in a single spawn and can spawn multiple times per season.
Many states require you to kill certain carp species upon catching them. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about this subject.
Some Places Require Specific Killing
To give you an example, the state of Texas prohibits bighead and silver carp as an exotic species. You must kill them by beheading, gill cutting or gutting upon possession. Always check your local and state regulations to make sure you remain up to date with the regulations as they may change from time to time.
Each state may have different requirements, but most states consider carp an invasive species. They compete with native fish populations for food, and because they spawn in such high numbers, they hurt the local biodiversity of an area. In some states like Indiana, you can’t even throw the carp back if they jump into your boat. You must kill them. Thinking of it as doing a public service for the environment.
No Limits in Most States
Most states let you kill as many carp as you can, and you should kill them if you catch them. For bowfishing, we often go out, take as many as 25 per person in a single session. That still doesn’t even dent the carp populations as they continue to reproduce in mass numbers, overtaking our local rivers and lakes.
Asian carp give you a good example of a fish that hurts our local populations. Researchers believe that carp lower water quality since they stir up the sediment, and this kills off sensitive organisms in our waters like freshwater mussels. Carp have caused issues in the Mississippi River because of prolific feeding and spawning habits.
If you want to have fun and do a public service, go bowfishing with a few friends. Taking home dozens of carp can be a lot of fun, and it provides you with food. Just be cautious of how many you eat because this fish can take on a lot of pollutants that you don’t want to eat, especially in some waters. Killing carp is like emptying the ocean with a bucket. You will never get them all.
Why Should You Kill Carp?
Carp not only damage the water quality, but they destroy the habitat for waterfowl, amphibians and native fish populations. They’re an all-around bad fish that we need to cull to keep from destroying our environment. If you love the beauty of your state, you will not release them back into the waters. If you have an issue with simply killing carp, you can use them in a number of ways. In fact, I wrote about that here. Some people don’t like the flavor, but you can also use them for nutrients in your garden.
Never Release Invasive Fish Species
Releasing non-native fish species back into the environment continues the destruction of the habitat and local wildlife. This goes beyond carp. For example, in some places in Alaska, northern pike are an invasive fish species. Despite them being native in Minnesota, releasing northern pike in certain places in Alaska is illegal, and you may face a fine or possible jail time. Don’t do it. Not only is it bad for the environment, but you face legal consequences.
The same goes for any other invasive fish species. Some people think of it as in poor taste, but it is worse to let this fish continue to damage our environment. An invasive fish species must be killed.
Don’t Throw Them to Rot on the Shore or Boat Landing
When we say kill carp, we mean to take them home and eat them or use them in some way. One of the less tasteful practices that you see with bowfishermen is that they will sometimes shoot a bunch of carp and leave them up on the boat launch. This stinks up the area and makes it unpleasant for other people. Not only that, but it gives bowfishermen a bad name. Always act politely and respectfully toward others.
In the worst-case scenario, you can throw the carp away in the garbage. However, I’m of the belief that you should make use out of them either by eating them or giving them away to someone who likes carp. They have a strong flavor that not everyone appreciates, but you can cook them in certain ways to make them taste better. I wrote about how to fillet carp with a great recipe here.
Like Bass? Another Reason to Kill Carp…
Carp will ruin the nesting grounds of bass and disrupt them. If you like fishing for bass, carp can potentially ruin that. Some believe that this is a myth, but no one can argue that carp will eat up the vegetation so that the little bass have nowhere to hide. Other fish species will come in and crush local bass populations because of the carp. In many places, the bass can’t spawn successfully because of the local carp, and unless they wipe out the carp populations, the bass will die out altogether.
No Carp is a Native Fish Species in North America
You see some people championing common carp as an okay fish species over Asian carp, but none of the carp are native. Not the grass carp, not the bighead carp, not the Asian carp, not the common carp. This makes it illegal to release any carp back into the water. You must kill them by law. Some people have seen how when carp become overpopulated in a pond, they can wipe out the entire pond. This is how destructive they become.
Releasing carp back into local waters is incredibly harmful to our environment. If you think that carp don’t hurt our local wildlife and the quality of our waters, speak with a DNR and the damage that they have seen. In most places that I know of in the United States, releasing all species of carp back into the lakes and rivers is illegal with consequences. I could be wrong, which is why I encourage you to check your current local regulations to be sure, but I think it’s illegal to release them back into the waters anywhere in the United States.
One of the great things about bowfishing for carp is that they don’t have bag limits because of being an invasive species. I have friends who will take a truckload full of carp home in a single night.
With bowfishing, the arrow will automatically kill the carp, but if you catch one on the end of your line, you may need to kill it by gutting it or using another one of the other killing methods. Check your local and state regulations.