XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — The City of Xenia and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife teamed up today to catch fish, but not for recreation.

Debra Walters, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Division 5 Southwest Ohio fish management supervisor, said, “They eat a lot and grow very quickly.”

Asian carp were brought to the United States in the 1970s, used to keep retention ponds clean, but thanks to flooding and accidental releases, they have made their way up the Mississippi River, but how did bighead carp sightings happen twice in the last year at the Shawnee Park Pond?

Keith Koch, City of Xenia public service supervisor, said “A very good chance that they were brought in from people.”

The bighead carp is found along the Ohio River, and could have been introduced to the pond accidentally.

Walters said, “It could have been somebody caught a bunch of bait down there, brought it up here, used it to fish for catfish, which are in this body of water, and a lot of anglers just dump their bait.”

The bighead carp can grow up to 5 feet and weigh up to 100 pounds. They consume up to 40 percent of its body weight in plankton, posing a threat to native fish in the pond.

Walters said, “They are plankton feeders, which means they can compete with newly born fish that also rely on plankton, so sport fish essentially.”

The Division of Wildlife is using a form of fishing called electrofishing, a common practice to sample fish populations.

Walters said, “Uses electrical current to temporarily stun a fish, hopefully long enough so you can net it.”

Koch said it was important to get this done before stocking the pond for their annual fishing derby in June.