An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Bighead Carp

Scientific Name

Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (Richardson, 1845) (ITIS)

Common Name

Bighead carp

Native To

China (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction

1973 (NAS Database)

Means of Introduction

Imported for aquaculture and for phytoplankton control (NAS Database)

Impact

Impacts not adequately known, but may "lead to reductions in populations of native species that rely on plankton for food, including all larval fishes, some adult fishes, and native mussels" (NAS Database)

Bighead carp, adult

Bighead carp, adult

Credit

Photo by U.S. Geological Survey

Find more images

Spotlights

  • Science and Innovation for Battling Invasive Carp

    • Mar 2022
    • DOI. USGS. Publications Warehouse.

    • The U.S. Geological Survey provides natural-resource managers with scientific information, risk assessment, and tools that can help to improve surveillance, prevention, and control strategies for managing invasive carp.
      Fact Sheet 2022–3012

  • Governors Call on Congress to Provide Full Federal Funding for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project

    • Dec 10, 2021
    • Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

    • In a letter (PDF | 396 KB) to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Governors of the eight Great Lakes States have called on the U.S. Congress to provide full federal funding in the 2022 Water Resources Reform and Development Act for the remaining design, construction, operation, and maintenance costs of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project. The project is intended to prevent invasive carp from migrating up the Mississippi River and entering and colonizing in the Great Lakes.

  • Michigan and Illinois Sign Agreement to Advance Invasive Carp Prevention Project at Brandon Road Lock and Dam

    • Jan 7, 2021
    • Office of the Governor (Michigan).

    • The governors of Illinois and Michigan today agreed to work jointly to protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp species. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Gov. JB Pritzker today announced an intergovernmental agreement between the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) which allows Illinois to use up to $8 million in funds appropriated in 2018 by the Michigan Legislature to support the pre-construction engineering and design (PED) phase of the Brandon Road Ecosystem Project. Further strengthening the path forward, the State of Illinois also signed a separate PED agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the initial Brandon Road design. The state will serve as the non-federal sponsor, agreeing to help fund design of a portion of the project and to further advance full project design efforts to approximately 30 percent completion.

      The Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Chicago Area Waterway System near Joliet, Illinois, is a critical pinch point for keeping bighead, silver and black carp – the invasive Asian carp species of greatest concern – out of the Great Lakes. The Brandon Road project would install layered technologies including an electric barrier, underwater sound, an air bubble curtain and a flushing lock in a newly engineered channel designed to prevent invasive carp movement while allowing barge passage.

  • NOAA Researchers Model Risk of Asian Carp Invasion in Lake Huron

    • Apr 30, 2020
    • DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    • New research by NOAA and partners finds that two species of invasive Asian carp -- the bighead carp and silver carp, collectively known as bigheaded carps -- could be capable of establishing populations in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron and affecting the health of ecologically and economically important fish species such as yellow perch. The research, appearing online in the journal Biological Invasions, is based on a new model that simulates interactions between the bigheaded carps and a range of fish species, including walleye, yellow perch, and groups lower on the food web over a time period of 50 years. Over 180 non-indigenous aquatic species have already become established in the Great Lakes, with a handful of these producing substantial negative impacts. While bigheaded carps are established in watersheds near the Great Lakes, they have not yet become established in the Great Lakes.

  • Bighead Carp Added to Federal List of Injurious Wildlife

    • Mar 21, 2011
    • DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule in the Mar 22 Federal Register officially adding the bighead carp to the federal injurious wildlife list. The final rule codifies the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act (S. 1421), signed into law by President Obama on Dec 14, 2010. The injurious wildlife listing means that under the Lacey Act it is illegal to import or to transport live bighead carp, including viable eggs or hybrids of the species, across state lines, except by permit for zoological, education, medical, or scientific purposes.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Federally Regulated

  • Injurious Wildlife Listings - Keeping Risky Wildlife Species Out of the United States

    • DOI. FWS. Fish and Aquatic Conservation.

    • Includes species listed as injurious wildlife under the Federal Lacey Act (18 USC 42), which makes it illegal to import injurious wildlife into the U.S. or transport between the listed jurisdictions in the shipment clause (the continental U.S., the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any possession of the U.S.) without a permit. An injurious wildlife listing would not prohibit intrastate transport or possession of that species within a State where those activities are not prohibited by the State. Preventing the introduction of new harmful species is the only way to fully avoid impacts of injurious species on local, regional, and national economies and infrastructure, and on the natural resources of the U.S.

      Injurious wildlife are wild mammals, wild birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, crustaceans, mollusks and their offspring or eggs that are injurious to the interests of human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife or wildlife resources of the U.S. Plants and organisms other than those stated above cannot be listed as injurious wildlife. For more information, see What Are Injurious Wildlife: A Summary of the Injurious Provisions of the Lacey Act and Summary of Species Currently Listed as Injurious Wildlife.

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Partnership
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government
Academic
Professional
Citations