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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

  • Choose Copi: Eat Well and Do Good - State of Illinois Renames and Rebrands Asian Carp

    • Jun 22, 2022
    • Illinois Department of Resources.

    • Following more than two years of consumer research and planning, the State of Illinois unveiled "Copi," the new name for Asian carp, which is a play on “copious” – as that’s exactly what these fish are. By one estimate, 20 million to 50 million pounds of Copi could be harvested from the Illinois River alone each year, with hundreds of millions more in waterways from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast. The new name and brand are designed to address public misconceptions about this delicious top-feeding fish, which is overrunning Midwest waterways.

      Copi are mild, clean-tasting fish with heart-healthy omega-3s and very low levels of mercury. Increased consumption will help to stop them from decimating other fish populations in the Great Lakes and restore an ecological balance to waterways down stream.

  • 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.

  • Bighead Carp Added to Federal List of Injurious Wildlife

    • Mar 21, 2011
    • DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service; Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

    • 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