Conservation Connection: Eating Asian Carp
(KPLR) – They wreak havoc in and over crowd our river ecosystems, they out compete native fish, and they even smack boaters in mid-air. We’re talking about Asian carp on Conservation Connection. River ecologist Quinton Phelps tells us more about these aquatic invaders, and how we can fight back – by eating them!
Q. First of all, what are these things and how did they get here?
- 2 species—big head and silver carp
- Large plankton-eating fish
- Originally imported from Asiato aquaculture facilities in Arkansas to control water quality
- Escaped and spread throughout the Mississippi River basin.
- Carps can now be found in 23 of the United States open waters
Q. What kinds of problems do they cause in the river?
- Habitat alterations
- Out-compete native species for food
- Negative impact on floodplains
- Dangerous to boaters
Q. Sounds like a fish that deserves to be eaten . . . but can they be?
- Yes! . . . Blind taste test of Asian carp vs. tilapia and catfish with 300 people participating…. over half chose Asian carp as tasting the best
- Being plankton feeders means little chance of absorbing contaminants, so they’re safe
- Easy to fillet (demonstrate)
- Cooking ideas . . . ?
Help protect our rivers and fight back against the invaders—catch them, cook them and eat them!