Fishing forum > A short history of carp in North America

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A quick history of carp in North America.
Carp are large members of the minnow family (Cyprinidae) . They originated in Europe and Asia (many varieties) 8 Asian species where they were wild and also domesticated for food and trade spanning over 2,000 years.
As the U.S and Canada was settled and began to develop industries rapid population growth resulted in large harvests and marketing of valued native species. By the mid to late 1800’s fish stocks began to decline at an alarming rate. The U.S. reaction in 1871 (Grant Presidency) was to appoint the U.S Fish Com-mission to oversee the nation’s fisheries interest. One of its first tasks was to report on “Fishes worthy of Cultivation.” Since trout bass and other fish were obviously declining the USFC promoted a fish with advantages that could rapidly populate ponds reservoirs (rivers fragmented by mill dams and tolerate degraded/polluted warm waters) conditions unfavourable to native species. European carp had high reproductive capabilities, rapid growth and palatable flesh. Furthermore it was thought to be harmless to other fish being an omnivore rather than another fish eater. It was also proven to be able to
populate large and small bodies of water effectively.
Rather than delay by 1877 USFC imported 345 carp of scaled, mirror (fewer very large scales) and leather varieties of carp from Germany . The latter variety was hyped as German leather trout. These were propagated in Maryland and Wash-ington DC and by 1879 over six thousand fingerlings were shipped to 24 states. In short order 1879 to 1896 some 2.4 million carp finger-
lings were sent around the U.S and some even going to Central Amer-ica and Canada . So this “super fish” seemed to be gaining popularity. And make no mistake about it many anglers took to carp fishing with a passion.
Canadian history in this regard, although perhaps much less trumpeted, also had a rising tide of fish stocking and Conservation interest.
Whether you like or dislike carp (and there are pros and cons on both sides of the argument) it was perhaps the most deliberate and most hyped fish of that day when degraded and dammed fisheries habitats and unchecked exploitation to meet rising population demand and industrialization triggered a political need for a broad based super fish solution. And it was implemented successfully.

This is an excerpt from an OFAH newsletter. The article was written by Felix Barbetti. The rest of the article pertains to ON specifically.

Fishing forum > A short history of carp in North America


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