Invasive Carp Outcompetes Kayaker for Missouri River Habitat

A contestant in a 340-mile kayak race was forced to drop out yesterday after being hit in the head by a leaping silver carp, the Associated Press reported.

Houston resident Brad Pennington was considered one of the favorites among men’s solo racers in the Missouri River 340, a canoe and kayak race that began Tuesday morning in Kansas City, Kan. At least until a 30-pound Asian silver carp jumped from the water and hit him in the head. The fish are known to panic and jump in response to passing vessels.

“It felt like a brick hit me,” Pennington said Wednesday.

The silver carp is one of the escaped domesticated carp species, lumped together under the name “Asian carp,” that have flourished in the Mississippi River basin. Earlier this week, a U.S. District Court judge agreed to hold a hearing in September to decide whether or not to issue an emergency injunction closing Chicago’s shipping canals, in the hopes blocking the carp from reaching the Great Lakes.