Those working to reduce the numbers of invasive Asian Carp believe they have one asset on their side: the tastiness of the fish.
“They’re actually a good eating fish,” said Matt O’Hara from the Illinois DNR. “Their flesh is white. It’s more like a buffalo, or if you do a boneless version, more like a crappie or bass.”
Chef Philippe Parola of Baton Rouge, Louisiana sees potential in the abundance of these fish.
“Let’s face reality: eradication is impossible, because they are so deep in our backwaters in Louisiana all the way to Canada,” Parola said. “To us, the only alternative that’s available is commercial harvest, and to be successful with the commercial harvest, you must be able to put a value on this fish that sustains the cost of the commercial fishermen.”
There are challenges, though: the fish are boney and their name makes them an unlikely candidate for grocery stores. Instead, Parola suggests the fish could be valuable for the commercial food industry.
“The restaurants, the chefs, the caterers, cruise liners, this is a huge market for the right product,” Parola said. “If you look at the demand of fish versus supply, the demand is rising every day and the supply is going down due to restrictions, overharvest and so on.”
Parola’s website offers several recipes for preparing carp.