July 18, 2011
Illinois to Process Asian Carp for Distribution to Food Banks
By Chad Love
One of the central questions concerning the nation's ever-growing Asian carp problem is what to do with them once you catch them. But the state of Illinois is trying a novel solution (which NYC has already applied to nuisance geese around its airports): processing the carp (which is a popular food fish in China) and donating it to local food banks.
From this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Outdoor Pressroom):
What do you do with a bony, ugly, jumpy, fat, fugitive fish that's taken over the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and threatens the ecology of the Great Lakes? Grind them into fish sticks and feed them to the poor. That's the latest strategy from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in its tussle with the Asian carp. The department plans to process tons of the fish and donate it to food banks, including the St. Louis Area Food Bank.
"We'll filet them and pull the bones out and turn them into fish sticks, or the equivalent of canned tuna," says Tom Main, acting deputy director at the DNR. "The fish actually taste pretty good." Main has a lot of dead fish on his hands. The state pays commercial fishermen to pull Asian carp out of the northern Illinois River. It's in effort to keep them out of the canal and rivers that connect to Lake Michigan, which is, so far, nearly Asian-carp-free. "We've pulled out 150 tons just this year," he says.
Do you think the program will go over with consumers? Anyone tried eating Asian carp?