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Posted on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Asian carp sting: Suspect accused of selling invasive fish

By Cindy Heflin

An Arkansas man faces 12 felony charges after he was accused of selling live Asian carp, an invasive species, to undercover officers in Midland, MLive reported.

The man, David Shane Costner, 42, of Harrisburg, Ark., brought 110 grass carp into the state, according to the state attorney general's office and Department of Natural Resources.


A grass carp allegedly sold to undercover investigators in Midland, Mich., on May 16.

Courtesy photo

The state said he was selling the fish out of his truck in store parking lots around the state.

Costner is charged with 10 counts of possessing an illegal species and two counts of selling an illegal species. Each carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $20,000

Grass carp have the potential to eat all vegetation from a body of water, putting native species at risk.

Grass carp are among four species of Asian carp that infested U.S. waterways after being imported decades ago to clear algae from fish ponds and sewage treatment lagoons.

Two other Asian varieties — bighead and silver carp — have migrated up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and are poised to invade the Great Lakes, where scientists say they could out-compete native fish for food. The federal government has spent more than $100 million on an electric barrier and other steps to keep them out.

Read the MLive article.



Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 4:52 a.m.

somewhere on the west coast of the state they had foodie contests to see who could come up with the best carp recipes. I think in one of our neighboring states they give out gift cards to sporting goods stores for so many pounds of asian carp a fisherman can catch. You think they could organize in michigan some sort of asian carp derby days where all the asian carp caught could be donated to feed the homeless with fisherman getting in on raffle prizes. that being said I find it bazaar someone would drive from Ark to Mi to sell fish out of the back of a truck and who buys these fish anyways?


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

We don't have Asian carp in the Great Lakes, yet. The whole point of all the press and political effort is to keep them from getting in. Though your ideas would be great for knocking the common carp population.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

Most likely people who have ponds they want cleaned up to ignorant to realise they can escape into the eccosystem.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

Nothing good comes out of Asia... or Arkansas.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

@ aliekkio I didn't see where that article mentioned the the grass carp. Don't know if they are tasty or not. But young carp that have been around for ages are pretty good smoked after the mud line or whatever it is called is removed.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

How big would you say is too big to be tasty? The carp we have in the Huron (and all over the country) is the "common carp" that was brought over from Europe back in the 1800s and now is everywhere. It's too bad people don't eat them as much as they used to, common carp are not good for water quality and native species.

Jim Pryce

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

The restitution should begin with $20,000. instead of $2,000. We need to increase all game law violation fines.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

The linked article has more information. The truck is a tractor-trailer equipped with large tanks for delivering live fish to be stocked in ponds. Grass carp eat some kinds of aquatic plants, and are used for weed control in fish farms and other artificial ponds. They don't eat all kinds of plants, so they aren't always a good solution even where there aren't illegal. They are legal to sell in some other states. Some states only allow "triploid" carp, a supposedly sterile variety.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Who goes around selling fish off the back of a truck and who goes around looking for that? Sounds fishy to me! I mean, it's FISH. Did they plan on eating them or keeping them as pets? Who buys fish just to throw into a river anyways?


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.



Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

@ Epengar - Have now! I thought it was all by regulations. You can only fish during these times, only take fish that are male and this big. Kinda like hunting, yes?


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

You've never heard of stocking fish in ponds or rivers? Your state government spends millions every year doing that that to provide more game fish for recreational fishing. Grass carp are sold for aquatic weed control for fish farms and other artificial ponds. They are not native to North America, but are legal to sell in some states.

Perry White

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

In your lead, you refer to Asian carp as an invasive subspecies. Asian carp are a group of species, not subspecies, of carp originally from Asia, which includes grass carp. It would be better to say, "... he was accused of selling grass carp, an illegal, invasive species of Asian carp ...".


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

I can sleep now, thank you.

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Indeed, that word should have been species, not subspecies. It's been changed.

Perry White

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Don't call me Chief!


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Thanks, Chief.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Wow! For those anti-government folks, I guess we should let the fish go, and let the free market handle this? Stupid DNR Bureaucrats getting in the way of free market solutions...


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

Where did anyone say "anti government" or "free market?" I do see some people, that probably are unaware of the asian carp scare, and don't see the criminality of this action. It's funny, I just read an article discussing the polarization of american politics. How it seems, people have chosen sides. Ben, you just have validated that article's argument. Sheesh.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Now are the fish illegal or just undocumented?

greg, too

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

Why would someone want to buy or sell a fish that does nothing other than destroy an ecosystem? Does it do other tricks? And are those interesting enough to warrant the possibility of spending a good deal of time in prison and huge fines?


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

They are used for aquatic weed control in fish farms and other artificial ponds.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

"Does it do other tricks?" It's edible (and quite tasty). Live = fresh. Instead of trying to legislate the carp out of existence, it would be much more profitable to use whatever is already here.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Can't imagine that the fish were fresh after traveling from Arkansas to Michigan, not to mention that they were an illegal species. Selling out of the back of a truck? The article doesn't mention if the individual had a license to sell fish from a truck. Plenty of issues here. Are these fish legal to sell anywhere? Need more information.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Large truck with tanks for stocking fish in ponds. Grass carp are not native to North America, but they are legal to sell in some states to the south.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

@JRW...are you saying something is fishy about this story?....


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Didn't you read the first line? "he was accused of selling live Asian carp," that makes them alive and ready to dump into the ecosystem. I'm glad they got this guy, wonder what the fish are sold for food or aquatic control? Whatever it was, it must have been worth the cost to drive a tank of 110 of them from AK to MI.