- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - More than 1 million pounds of carp that were threatening endangered fish have been pulled out of Utah Lake this winter, with most of it going to a farmer’s fields and a nearby mink farm.

The carp are being removed as part of a multimillion dollar effort to save the June sucker, an endangered fish that only lives in Utah Lake and its tributaries.

When carp feed on the lake bottom, they tear up vegetation that provides important places for young June suckers to hide from predators.

After the carp are removed, they will go into the soil of a farmer’s field and provide food for a mink farm in Utah County, said Michael Mills, local coordinator for the June sucker recovery program.

Some of the nutrient-packed carp will also soon go to a local composting operation.

Wildlife officials say around 5 million pounds of carp will have to come out of lake each year to make enough room for the June sucker, which was listed as an endangered species in 1986.

A commercial fishing business began removing carp in the fall as part of a $500,000 state-funded contract to remove 2.5 million pounds of the fish from Utah Lake, the state’s largest natural freshwater lake.

About $40 million has been spent trying to save the June sucker.

Organizers had initially hoped to find buyers for the carp and cover the costs of removal.

“I’d still love to see somebody pay for it,” Mills said.

This winter’s fishing has shown that a steady supply of carp can be removed from the lake and made available to buyers, he said.

Research continues for possible uses for the carp, including grinding them up into fish meal for the state’s hatcheries.


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