JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An Osage County man caught a mammoth fish he had never even heard of while angling on the Osage River, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Jesse Hughes, of Bonnots Mill, Missouri, was fishing for catfish on March 4 when he felt something huge on the line.
“We hooked into it and knew it was something big, but I originally thought it was a catfish,” Hughes told the MDC. “It was the first I’d heard of a black carp.”
Although Hughes’ catch was big, black carp can get up to 5 feet long and weigh up to 160 pounds.
The black carp is on Missouri’s Prohibited Species List, which states people cannot import, export, transport, sell, purchase or possess the fish alive. That’s because this species has been causing major trouble for conservation efforts.
Black carp look like the more common grass carp, but they are darker in color, though not actually black. The MDC asks anyone who catches this fish to call their local conservation agency immediately.
The Asian species was first introduced to the U.S. to control snail problems in commercial fisheries, according to the MDC. Some reportedly escaped into the Osage River in 1994, and the carp now threaten other native species.
Conservation officials believe that black carp are breeding and are becoming established in the U.S.
Find out more about black carp on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.