The white amur, or grass carp, is a native of Siberia, Manchuria and China, inhabiting Asian rivers which flow into the Pacific Ocean. Before its introduction in the United States, it was established throughout Southeast Asia, Europe and Russia.
It was imported into Arkansas in 1973 from Malaysia by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Fishing Farming Experimental Station near Stuttgart to study its potential as a control of unwanted aquatic plants. It has been stocked in ponds, lakes and canals in Arkansas since then.
The white amur is one of the largest members of the minnow family (Cyprindae). It may weigh up to 110 pounds and be four feet long during its 12- to 15-year life span. However, in ponds, they are usually less than 1-1/2 feet long and weigh less than 30 pounds.
The white amur is undoubtedly the most efficient aquatic plant-eating fish known, but they do prefer some species of plants over others. In general, submerged and some types of floating plants are preferred over emergent and terrestrial plants.
the preferred plants are typically young and succulent with negligible fiber. Fibrous and woody plants are least preferred since they contain cellulose which white amur are unable to digest.
White amur's food preferences are affected by age and size of fish, feeding history, water temperature and other factors.
The white amur is very susceptible to predation by bass and to some extent by catfish, so fish less than 9 inches long should never be stocked where mature bass, catfish or other predatory fish are present. In bass/bluegill ponds, white amur reduces submerged vegetation which increases the vulnerability of small bluegill, green sunfish and other small species to bass predation.
For more information on grass carp or to place your fish order, contact the Sharp County conservation District and the Natural Resources Conser-vation Service located inside the Beller building on Court Road in Suite 21-C or call the office at (870) 994-7335 Ext. 3.