Invasive Carp Consortium Harnesses Industry Power to Combat Fish Species Devastating US Waterways

Today, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Freshwater Select, in collaboration with industry partners, launched the Invasive Carp Consortium (ICC) which will propel market forces to halt the damage caused by invasive carp to U.S. lakes and rivers. By increasing demand for carp products as a source of protein for both humans and animals, the ICC unifies and amplifies the private sector’s commitment to reduce the population of this harmful species and counteract its environmental damage while contributing to a circular economy.

Invasive carp, originally introduced into the U.S. decades ago as a novel tool for pond cleaning, have infested and overwhelmed river systems in the American Midwest. The fish weigh around 30 pounds and jump high out of water, colliding with anything in their path. Their proliferation has devastated sport fishing, eliminated recreational water sports, killed off native species, and wreaked havoc on aquatic ecosystems.

“Over the years there have been several invasive carp eradication programs, but these fish continue to spread like a plague throughout our waterways,” said Ellen Dierenfeld, who leads sustainable feed innovation at WWF. “We’re coming at this problem in a totally new way that hits two targets at once. By developing market demand for enhanced carp products for human and animal feed, we create viable options for harvesting these fish on a large scale, adding to the blue economy as well as food system circularity. And we also alleviate some of the adverse environmental effects of traditional livestock, aquaculture, and animal feed production.”

“Developing markets for invasive carp is the ultimate long-term solution to what was once considered an unsolvable problem,” said Matthew Sulkowski, CEO of Freshwater Select. “Everyone benefits here. With this level of industry collaboration and support, fishers will be able to harvest carp more safely and responsibly, processors will have access to a longer-term supply of high-quality carp, and companies can support a critical environmental initiative by purchasing it.”

The ICC is an industry trade association whose members represent the broader private sector actors in the carp supply chain. Key tenants of the organization include providing education and outreach to support market growth while adhering to sustainable business practices, and creating a more robust, responsible, and transparent food supply chain market through data and transparency into the freshwater fish industry.

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Media Contacts:

Lorin Hancock, World Wildlife Fund, [email protected]

Matthew Sulkowski, [email protected]

About World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in nearly 100 countries for over half a century to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat the climate crisis. Visit to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by following @WWFNews on Twitter and signing up for our newsletter and news alerts here.

  • Carp jumping out of the water

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