‘Fish fence’ being tested in Kentucky to stop Asian carp

Chattanooga Times Free Press –

Kentucky officials are hoping a noise-making, bubbling “fish fence” will help stop the spread of destructive Asian carp.

At Kentucky’s Barkley Dam on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others gathered to commission the new bioacoustic fish fence near a lock at the bottom of the dam. The $7 million, three-year field trial will help wildlife officials determine whether the device effectively keeps Asian carp from entering the lock and moving upstream.

The fence works as a deterrent by broadcasting noise at a frequency that irritates the carp. The noise is contained within a wall of bubbles that are lit by strobes. The combination has worked well in the laboratory and in smaller-scale outdoor settings.

Asian carp is a catch-all term for four species of invasive carp that have spread up the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico as far as Wisconsin and into the Missouri and Ohio rivers and other smaller tributaries.

For the first large-scale test, wildlife officials chose Barkley, which straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee border, in part because Asian carp are already established there, making it easy to track their movements. Also, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources already had a fulltime crew there monitoring the Asian carp population.

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