Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Carlson, A. K., and B. Vondracek. Predictive Management of Asian Carps in the Upper Mississippi River System. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.


Nonnative bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix), collectively referred to as Asian carps, are poised to colonize aquatic ecosystems throughout the central United States. These species are r-selected, exhibiting iteroparous spawning early in life, short generation time, rapid growth, broad environmental tolerance, high density, and wide dispersal. Hydrological, thermal, and physicochemical conditions are favorable for establishment beyond the current range, rendering containment and control imperative. Contemporary Asian carp management in the United States aims to confine populations and prevent colonization. Foraging and reproduction of Asian carps govern habitat selection and movement, providing valuable insight for predictive control. Current management approaches are progressive and often anticipatory but sociologically deficient. We define predictive management of Asian carps as synthesis of ecology and human dimensions at regional and local scales to develop strategies for containment and control. We illustrate predictive management in the Upper Mississippi River System and suggest resource managers integrate predictive models, containment paradigms, and human dimensions to design effective, socially acceptable management strategies. As Asian carps knock on the proverbial door, predictive management is an auspicious paradigm for preventing and alleviating consequences of colonization in the United States.