TFWC to Address Regulation to Halt Asian Carp Spread

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The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote this week on new regulations they hope will slow the spread of Asian carp in the Tennessee River system. (Photo courtesy TWRA)

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will establish the 2019-20 fishing regulations at its September meeting to be held in Knoxville. The meeting will be held Sept. 20-21 (Thursday-Friday) at the Holiday Inn Knoxville West, Cedar Bluff.

Committee meetings start at 1 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday. The regular TFWC meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Among the fishing regulations proposed made during the August TFWC meeting included measures to continue the agency’s effort to battle the invasive Asian carp.

In TWRA Region I and II, if the proposals are adopted, skipjack herring, gizzard shad, and threadfin shad will not be able to be transported alive from the Mississippi River and Barkley, Kentucky, and Pickwick reservoirs and any tributaries or oxbows of these waters. The restriction would not apply to the Duck River above Normandy Dam.

These bait species are similar in appearance to small Asian carp. This proposal would reduce the risk of accidentally introducing Asian carp into new waterways.

Several proposals will change seasons on the Tellico River, Citico Creek, and Green Cove Pond. The proposals are aimed to allow optimal stocking and fishing conditions during the permit season. Another proposal would return Big Lost Creek, Goforth Creek, Spring Creek, and Greasy Creek and their tributaries in Polk County to statewide regulations. This adds fishing opportunity to these creeks which are currently closed on Friday.

The complete list of the proposals is on the TWRA website. An official comment period was also held but has ended now. Interested parties are welcome to comment at the upcoming meeting..

In addition to the setting of the fishing regulations, TWRA Fisheries Division chief, Frank Fiss, will introduce the agency’s annual fisheries biologist and technician of the year.

The commission will hear the results of the chronic wasting disease (CWD) risk assessment in Tennessee. Dr. Krysten Schuler, disease ecologist from Cornell University, will make the presentation. Dr. Schuler has helped TWRA use the risk assessment data to develop a weighted, risk-based surveillance plan that staff will begin implementing this fall. Dr. Schuler will share the general approach behind this surveillance plan.

Results from the mail survey of residents within the elk restoration zone will be presented by Dr. Neelam Poudyal of the University of Tennessee. The study investigated opinions and attitudes regarding elk within the five county region. The study also characterizes the economic value of elk in Tennessee.

The TFWC will be meeting for the first time in Knoxville since October 2016 and for the first time at the Cedar Bluff location since August 2013.

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