What’s not to like about Asian carp? Nutritious, mild and delicate in flavour, it can be filleted, deep-fried or minced into fish cakes—just mind the bones. But Americans do not care for it. For starters, they confuse the fish with the common (or European) carp that is a bottom feeder, a much-maligned group. Yet tempting people to eat more Asian carp could boost biodiversity in rivers across America’s South and Midwest. With a new campaign, officials in Illinois hope to lure diners.
The carp was brought from Asia in the 1970s to help clean aquafarms in Arkansas. (They clear the water of plankton and algae, earning them the name of “filter feeders”.) From there they escaped into the Mississippi and propagated northward, outcompeting native fish species for food. Now they are abundant in the Illinois River. Ecologists worry they will evade barriers in the waterways around Chicago and enter the Great Lakes, reducing the native fish diversity there.
The Economist Jul 7th 2022 (Updated Jul 8th 2022) | NEW YORK