Asian Carp Invasion Continue s
Inside the Outdoors, September 04,
2015

A number of years ago, I wrote a column concerning the introduction of carp to the USA and told of its descriptions, habits, and people’s commentary about this invasive species fish.

As is the case with all such “invaders,” they not only become a nuisance, but also throw the whole ecosystems out of whack.

One of the fish that fall under this classification is the black carp, a member of the Asian Carp family. They were imported for aquaculture and for phytoplankton control. Other members of the family are the bighead and grass carp.

According to www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov, “Bighead carp may lead to reductions in populations of native species that rely on plankton for food, including all larval fishes, some adult fishes, and native mussels. Black carp negatively impact native aquatic communities by feeding on reducing populations of native mussels and snails, many of which are considered endangered or threatened.”

It went on to state, “Grass carp significantly directly and indirectly impacts via: competition for food; significant changed in the composition of macrophyte, phytoplankton, and invertebrate communities; inference with the reproduction of other fishes; decreases in refugia for other fishes; modification of preferred habitat; predation or competition when plant food is scarce. Has significantly altered the food web and trophic structure of aquatic systems by inducing changes in plant, invertebrate, and fish communities.”

In addition to seeing the silver carp on news shows jumping out of the water as anglers motor by in their boats, some fish even land inside these flotation devices. The website also stated, this fish “ has the potential to cause enormous damage to native species because it feeds on plankton required by larval fish and native mussels. It is a potential competitor with adults of some native fishes, for instance, gizzard shad, that also rely on the plankton for food.”

After seeing the YouTube series concerning these fish, I began to take interest. Then I received a note from my daughter, Kelsey, telling me of a chef in her new hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, that fixed Asian carp in such a way that the fillets became a delicacy on his menu items in his restaurant. His way of trimming the fish and fixing it with his special recipe caught on to such extent that restaurants all along the Mississippi River featured this food on menus.

It is not sure to this day whether the chef called his new addition something other than Asian carp. Maybe he gave it a fancier name. But the bottom line is that people loved what they ate and came back to get more. That’s when other entrepreneurs heard about his discovery and decided to investigate and made it a hit in their business places as well.

Recently, I received another news release from Kelsey stating that a friend of hers had written an update on this invasive species.

Written by Jill Moon for The Alton Telegraph, she stated that a company, the American Meixi Fishing Industry, nearby in Grafton, Illinois, was seeking “to flash freeze Asian carp in order to ship the fish to China where they will be processed.”

She wrote, “American Meixi Fishing Industry’s task at hand in Illinois involves immediately taking Asian carp brought to them by regional fishermen and flash freezing the fish as it arrives at the Grafton location, putting the solidly frozen fish into crates and into a holding freezer until a truck would pick up and take the filled crates from Grafton for eventual transport to China,” it was reported.

A previous Asian carp business at that location had to be shut down because of processing methods that led to atrocious odors that leaked outside the plant and into the community. Then, the American Heartland Fish Products now shut down, processed fish into meal and oil by extreme heat.

According to the most recent edition of the Ohio Environmental Council August newsletter found on the Internet, “Asian carp pose a huge threat to Ohio’s wildlife, economy, humans, and recreational opportunities. These fish can grow up to 100 lbs., but typically average 30 to 40 lbs.”

“To make matters worse,” it was disclosed, “silver carp are easily startled and will jump up to 8 feet out of the water when disturbed by a passing boat. Thee fish have injured boaters in several states.”

The writer stated, “They breed like mosquitoes, spawning multiple times each year, and eat like hogs, eating up to 20 per cent of its weight daily in plankton that native fish need to survive. If not stopped, these devastating fish could seriously alter many of Ohio’s waterways. Asian carp dominates parts of the Missouri River – 90 per cent of the fish found in these parts are Asian carp.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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