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The first annual Peoria Flying Fish Festival & Bow Fishing Tournament was held in East Peoria, IL on July 11-12th, 2014. With the abundance the of invasive species "Asian carp", a collection of heavy-bodied cyprinid fish in the Illinois River, the organizers of the event hopes to use this program to promote preservation and conservation while promoting outdoor family activities.
"This festival is about preservation and conservation on the Illinois River," said Mike Everett, representing the Union Sportsmen's Alliance, "It's also about a boatload of fun as we try to put a serious dent in the number of flying fish over a 50-mile area of the river. We'll shoot a bunch of them and I intend to eat a bunch of them."
Researchers at Southern Illinois University estimated in 2012 that the Asian carp constituted 60 percent of all aquatic life in the Illinois River. The carp have infested the Mississippi River and tributaries including the Illinois River, which leads to Lake Michigan. Efforts are underway to keep the carp from reaching the Great Lakes.