Partners from the angler, environmental/conservation, business, and governmental communities have come together to improve a long-standing issue that impacts the health and quality of ecosystems in Houston’s bayou system. The result is the Inaugural Invasive Fish Round-Up & Carp-A-Thon Fishing Tournament that will take place along the Brays Bayou watershed on Saturday, September 17, 2016.
Over the past year, this collaborative effort, called the Carp and Armored-catfish Removal Plan (CARP) Task Force has worked on ways to manage the invasive fish populations in Houston’s waterways and prevent or reduce the ecological damage caused by these invasive species, including the loss of wetland grasses. The CARP Task Force recognizes that raising public awareness of the problem and promoting proper fishing practices is an important first step in managing the invasive fish population.
Grass carp and armored catfish, as well as other invasive aquatic species, have well established populations in the Galveston Bay watershed, including Brays Bayou and their presence significantly affects wetland establishment and water quality. Consistently removing the grass carp and armored catfish can reduce the negative impacts they have on the region’s native wildlife and habitat. While sterile grass carp are used as a vegetation control on some water bodies in Texas, non-sterile invasive grass carp are harmful to the region’s waterways.
This Inaugural Invasive Fish Round-Up & Carp-A-Thon Fishing Tournament will take place in conjunction with the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy’s Harvest Moon Festival and includes fishing and other educational demonstrations, food trucks, live bands, t-shirts, and prizes for fishing competitors. Attending the event is free, but to participate in the tournament anglers will need to obtain a fishing license prior to the tournament and pay a $20 entry fee in person the day of the event. Entry fees for children under 12 and seniors 65+ will be waived. Invasive fish caught must be brought in for weigh-in at Willow Waterhole. The release of these invasive fish back into the waterways is illegal. The CARP Task Force is working with interested parties on use of the fish. The Carp-A-Thon is bringing partners together across the Gulf-Houston region to tackle the longstanding issue of invasive fish species in our bayous. The day will be educational and fun for people of all ages in addition to improving the ecological health and water quality of our region.