Invasive species can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Nature is a delicate juggling of interactions between an environment and the plants and animals living within it. When a wildcard is introduced into the equation (like an invasive species), that balance can be thrown out of whack. One such species that has generated a lot of attention is the Asian Carp.
Much has been made about the spread of this invasive species. Multibillion-dollar proposals by the Army Corps of Engineers have been discussed to curb the growing problem. Local anglers in Peoria, IL, have a simpler idea: Let’s have a bowfishing tournament and kill as many as we can!
In an effort to turn a problem into an asset, the first annual Flying Fish Festival and Bowfishing Tournament has been added to the central Illinois summer calendar.
The invasive Asian carp will be at the center of activities planned for July 11-12 with some of the top bowhunters in the country expected to shoot as many Asian carp as they can while competing for cash prizes.
The program features Bass Pro Shops in East Peoria as a lead partner for an event with backers on both sides of the river.
Researchers at Southern Illinois University estimated in 2012 that the Asian carp constituted 60 percent of all aquatic life in the Illinois River.
A major emphasis has been placed on blocking the interloper’s entry to the Great Lakes, where it could overrun the recreational fishing industry there.
Photos: Associated Press (top), Great Lakes Fishery Commission (above)