Biology and management of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinidae) for vegetation control: a North American perspective
For the past three decades, the grass carp has received much attention due to its potential use as a biological control of aquatic vegetation. The grass carp was introduced in North America in 1960 to control water hyacinth. In 1963, additional grass carp were shipped to the Fish Farming Experimental Station in Stuttgart, Arkansas and to Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Both Stuttgart and Auburn artificially spawned the grass carp in 1966. The use of grass carp was popular because phytophagous fish has a much lower stocking cost than the cost of herbicides and because most people prefer to use biological rather than chemical controls. Ecologists have been concerned about the impact of grass carp on native fish communities. For this reason, triploid grass carp and triploid hybrids have been used to guard against unchecked reproduction. The purpose of this report is to provide information on grass carp identification, food habitats, vegetation control efficiency, reproduction, physiology, effects on limnological parameters in water bodies, interactions with other species, and grass carp regulations in the United States.