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Use of exploitation simulation models for silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) populations in several Midwestern U.S. rivers

Seibert, J. R., Q. E. Phelps, K. L. Yallaly, S. Tripp, L. Solomon, T. Stefanavage, D. P. Herzog and M. Taylor.  2015.  Use of exploitation simulation models for silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) populations in several Midwestern U.S. rivers.  Management of Biological Invasions: Volume 6(3), pp 295-302.   doi:


Management of silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, has become a growing concern for multiple state and federal entities. Commercial fishing may have the greatest potential to control silver carp. However, for a management action to be successful, the level of exploitation required to reduce silver carp populations must be quantified. Therefore, silver carp were collected from Midwestern U.S. rivers (i.e., Upper, Middle, and Lower Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Wabash rivers) to obtain population dynamics (i.e., recruitment, growth and mortality). Parameters obtained from population demographics were used to simulate exploitation levels using a spawning potential ratio (SPR) approach to determine target size and the amount of exploitation needed to recruitment overfish silver carp within each river system. Overall, we determined that silver carp populations (regardless of river) must be exploited at a small size (i.e., 27–33% of population exploited at ≥300 mm or 33–44% exploited at ≥400 mm), in order to reduce SPR to 0.2, which is identified as a threshold for recruitment overfishing. However, an understanding of the impacts of small mesh sizes on native species and an incentive program for commercial fisherman to promote catch of small fish is needed. This study provides federal and state agencies levels of exploitation and a target size required to effectively reduce silver carp populations in multiple rivers.


Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, invasive species control, exploitation, population dynamics

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