Thursday, July 13, 2006
Interesting story on NPR about Asian carp -- bigheads and silver carp -- in the Illinois River, a tributary of the Mississippi. How'd they get there? Seems they were introduced "in the early '70s to control algae in catfish farms in the South. Floods washed them into the Mississippi River in the 1980s. They've worked their way upriver ever since." Now, the fish are taking over, crowding out native gizzard shad and buffalo and threatening to spread to the Great Lakes. As if that weren't enough, it seems the huge fish are frenetic leapers known to jump clear of the water and occasionally smash into boaters and waterskiers. (You have to see the video.) Now, some frustrated fisherman have decided to make the best of it; they've turned the carp into a commercial catch and are selling them on the Asian market. They think they could sell them locally if only they could brand the fish better. Chilean sea bass, after all, was originally known as Patagonian toothfish. My thought is, if people will eat something called 'gizzard shad', (aka 'mud shad'), they shouldn't have a big problem with carp. Now, snakeheads -- those might be a little tougher sell. And yet, they say it's a delicacy.