CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Researchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received what is believed to be the largest specimen of black carp ever brought in for scientific analysis.
According to SIUC, the 115-pound female fish was caught on Thursday, February 8 by commercial fishers on the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Dr. Greg Whitledge, SIU Professor of Fisheries, says the fish is rare.
"This is the biggest black carp that we are aware of that has ever been caught in the U.S.," said Whitledge. "We don't often see very large fish like this of this species. It was a pretty interesting find for all of us when we heard about it."
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources pays fishermen to turnover black carp so student researchers can study the species.
"This fish is helpful to us because it adds sort of a unique individual from the population that we don't see very often," Whitledge said.
Student researcher Hudman Evans, will dissect the female fish to learn its age, growth rate, diet, reproductive potential and more.
Dr. Whitledge points out black carps don't belong in the Mississippi River, that's why researchers are studying the impact they're having on the native fish.
"Commercial fisherman are seeing them in increasing numbers in their nets that may be a sign that this species expanding its range and expanding in numbers as well," Whitledge said.
SIU manages a program funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that pays commercial fishers for black carp that they catch and turn over to the university for research.
Researchers removed key organs and tissue samples that will tell scientists about the species and its population.