Carp are being removed from Utah Lake as a way to clean up the murky water. The Utah Lake Commission is heading up the project in partnership with June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program over the next three years to get the carp population under control.
Carp have taken over the ecosystem in Utah Lake causing the June Sucker population to suffer since they were introduced, said Reed Price who is the director of the Utah Lake Commission.
“The federal government brought the carp in during the late 1800s as a protein supplement for the pioneer settlers who had overfished the natural fish species in the lake," Price said. "With the diminished natural species, they introduced carp which was a hearty fish that could proliferate and survive the different seasons that Utah has.”
Price said the program to remove the fish if funded mostly by the federal grants however, those grants only go so far. As a result, the Utah Lake Commission will approach the state for more funding.
“Our goal is to remove 75 percent of what was there. There was an estimated 40 million pounds of fish and our goal is to remove 30 million pounds of it," Price said. "To date, we have removed just over 13 and a half million, we have about 18 million pounds to go.”
The carp are being removed by fishermen who cut a hole in the frozen ice and drop a net in to capture the carp, making sure to return the sporting fish back into the lake including the catfish, the walleye, and the blue gill.
The majority if the captured carp are being composted and used for fertilizer while a small portion are being sent to mink farms as food, said Price.
Morgan Pratt is a sophomore at Utah State University seeking a degree in Journalism and Communications.