The once much hated alligator gar is now becoming one of the most sought after fish species for it is being pegged as a natural weapon against the menacing invasive Asian carp.
Wreaking havoc in many US rivers, the Asian carp has been a major trouble for authorities who have been trying hard to find ecological ways of getting rid of them. Authorities have tried quite a few different approaches, but none of them have yielded the desired results with population of the invasive Asian carp increasing in quite a few lakes.
Asian carp have been given native species a tough competition for resources and because of their ability to grow and spawn fast, these invasive species have effectively dominated quite a few rivers. Another problem is that these fish grow much larger in size and with no predators that could keep their population in check, they have been spreading profusely.
Alligator gar seems to be the natural weapon against Asian carp. The much hated gar was exterminated from most of the states just under two decades back. Alligator gar are being looked as the weapon against the carp because of their size that can match against the carp. Louisiana is one of the few states where it is still found and scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Tupelo have been capturing alligator gar from freshwater rivers and lakes to lay and fertilize eggs at hatcheries to raise a new generation of the fish, and then returning them to the wild.
Alligator gar got its name because of its head that resembles an alligator and has two rows of needle-like fish, and can grow as long as eight-feet. Because of the havoc that has been wreaked by Asian carp, need was felt to reintroduce the alligator gar in the local waters and the Illinois legislature passed a resolution last month applauding the program and urging it to be sped up. While reintroduction of the gar is being pegged as one of the best solutions, it is not the silver bullet and that one of the only ways to control the carp is to act when they are small, before they begin to spawn.
Those not completely in favor of using alligator gar against Asian carp are of the opinion that they could come in handy when they are used to attack the Asian carp when they are still young and not able to spawn.