A group of four non-indigenous cyprinid fishes (of the genera Hypophthalmichthys,
Ctenopharyngodon and Mylopharyngodon), collectively referred to as Asian carps, have agencies
and organizations tasked with managing aquatic resources in the Upper Mississippi River Basin
on high alert. These fishes, known as aquatic invasive species, threaten to alter the ecological and
economic landscape of this historically important national waterway by disrupting sensitive life
systems that are in a constant state of equilibrium and balance.
A need was identified to illustrate the cooperating networks of actors that are shaping
efforts for this region and provide a synthesis of the economic ramifications, risks, legal
frameworks and policy instruments currently being considered to control these aquatic pests. A
larger implication for this research is to provide a useful guide for analyzing governance
dilemmas with high degrees of complexity and interests.
Methods begin with isolating suspected pathways of Hypophthalmichthys,
Ctenopharyngodon and Mylopharyngodon introduction and assessing their risk levels, followed
by development of a matrix of legal tools and gap analysis, proceeding to surveys of expertstakeholders
to gauge preferred alternatives and finally a makeup of the federal and state response
to the issue area.
Results of the survey and subsequent analysis conclude that effort is significant but
barriers prevail in the form of unclear jurisdictional authority, lack of robust funding and
divergent interests. The chosen course of action combines biological, physical and/or behavioral
deterrents as subsets of a larger integrated pest management model and incorporates this into a
regional management plan that is individualized and idiosyncratic.
Preventing the Invasion of Asian Carps: An analysis of issues in governance and management for the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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