Conservation Officials Want People To Eat Asian Carp

Asian carp cake

Asian carp cakes served with Cajun sauce over a fried green tomato. Illinois officials are trying to market the invasive fish for human consumption.

Mark Schultz/Illinois Public Media

Eat Asian carp. That’s the message that Illinois and Louisiana officials want people to learn as conservation officials try to find a way to stop the invasive fresh-water species.

Several varieties of Asian carp are currently choking Illinois rivers and threatening the Great Lakes. Lieutenant governor Evelyn Sanguinetti  hosted a luncheon Monday on the University of Illinois campus, where Asian carp producers, consumers and wildlife officials sampled Asian carp dishes.

While a delicacy overseas, Asian carp is not a popular eating fish in America. Sanguinetti says the fish tastes like cod or tilapia and she hopes more people order it off a menu. "So we just need to open our minds and open our mouths and give it a try," she said.

The University of Illinois is serving as a liaison between Louisiana and Illinois, as those states look to market Asian carp for western consumption. University housing Dining Services serves 12.5 tons of the fish to students on the Urbana campus each year. "And if people are eating it, that fish is not reproducing," said Dawn Aubrey, Associate Director, University Housing Dining Services.

Story source: WILL