Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) Profile

Bighead carp
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

Bighead carp, scientific name Hypophthalmichthys nobilis is a species of freshwater fish, one of several Asian carp. It is one of the most closely absorbed fish of aquaculture, originating from China, producing over three million tonnes annually worldwide.

Bighead Carp profile

Bighead carp has a large, scaleless head, a large face, and eyes located at the very bottom of the head.

Adults usually have a silver-gray color that is a big fish; A typical length is 60 cm (2 ft) and the maximum observation size is 146 cm (4 ft 9 in) and 40 kg (88 lb).

Bighead carp are endemic to the major rivers of East Asia and related floodplain lakes. Their range extends from the north of southern China to the river Amur, which forms the boundary of China and Russia.

They have been widely introduced outside of their native range, including the United States, and are considered invasive, as they compete with native species (such as Bigmouth Buffalo).

Bighead carp has a very fast growth rate, making it a profitable aquatic fish. Unlike common carp, bighead carp are mainly filter feeders. They consume zooplankton as a priority, but phytoplankton and detritus.


Bighead carp is an important species of aquaculture, with the fifth-highest production (.5.5%) of all cultured freshwater fish worldwide.

Its production increased from just 6,6 tonnes in 1 year to 6,555 tonnes in 20 years, mostly in China.


Bighead carp’s value as a food fish enabled it to be exported from its native China to more than 70  countries, where it fled uninterrupted or was deliberately left wild.

Today, bighead carp can be found in Europe, South America, and North America. It has been introduced in most parts of the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and most of the Southeast Asian countries) and also in lakes in western China where it is not native.

Bighead carp are not always considered unwanted, invasive species where they are introduced outside of their local range and are being stocked in some aquaculture to support commercial fishermen.

Bighead carp or silver carp reserves generally increase the total biomass available for harvest but can reduce the catch of native and sometimes more valuable fish.

Bighead carp are considered the most destructive invasive species in the United States. Bighead carp and closely related silver carp (H. maltrix) were imported into the United States to remove excess or unwanted plankton, thus improving water quality at sewage treatment plants and aquaculture facilities.

However, some fish fled to the Mississippi River basin, where they are now firmly established. A national plan for controlling the Asian carpus, including Bighead Carp, was finalized in late 2007.

In the United States, a limited market for bighead carp has developed, especially in ethnic communities and they are cultivating ponds for this purpose.

Because the live or very recently killed market is the most lucrative, Bighead Carp is often transported directly and is probably a high-risk factor for the last outflow of fish, either by the end buyer or escaping during transportation.

Bighead carp

Another possible way for involuntary outbreaks of bighead carp is to use it as a fishing top.

Communities are trying to control the spread of highly aggressive bighead carp. New York City has banned the import and occupation of live bighead carp, excluding New York, where they can still be legally sold in the live food market (but they must be killed before they leave the premises).

Occupation of Live Bighead Carp Illegal in Illinois From 27 Ill February 24 February Illustrated in Missouri, using live Bighead Carp as a fishing cap is illegal. On December 27, the US Congress banned the import of bighead carp.

Live Bighead Carp also has a sale ban in Canada. Greater Toronto Area Asian supermarkets have been fined for selling in the past.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources banned direct sales and imports to Ontario in the 21st.

The fine is only CAD $ 3500.00 and has rarely worked to prevent the capture of this fish; Underground sales continue at several Chinese supermarkets in the region.

A live carp was found in the Don River in Toronto in 2003.

The slaughtered carp can still be sold in stores, but Asian retailers and consumers prefer fish over life. The slaughtered carp are cut into pieces: head, fillet, and tail.


Although the Bighead carp have reached a large scale, they are hard to catch with a rod and reel due to their filter-feeding habits.

They can be caught by the “suspension method” used to catch the silver carp, or where legal, by squeezing a heavy trigger hook through the water.

Bighead carp cannot be shot from the air like silver carp because, unlike silver carp, they do not jump from the water in response to removal.

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