Your recipes: Duane Chapman

April 2, 2012

Research Fish Biologist
USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center, Missouri

You have sure done a bang-up, professional job on this informative website. In addition to Fajitas Carpitas, your viewers might be interested in treating the Flying Carp Wings described in the video like buffalo chicken wings. Simply fry with something that gives a crispy coating and dunk in hotwing sauce. I have not done that myself for a long time, simply because it is such a caloric presentation. But if you like buffalo chicken wings, you will love the carp wings. And the meat to bone ratio is a lot better, too.

Nearly any way you like to cook fish, silver carp will be good eating. About the only way I don’t really like AC is oven-fried. We eat a lot of oven-fried panfish (crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, etc.) at our house, because it is quick and easy and low calorie, and because I have a pond outside my door, so we have the fish at hand. They are light and flaky that way. Asian carps are too meaty and dense for that method. Just about any other way works well. They are very versatile fish in the kitchen.

On your site, I think there could be more space given to education to attempt to avert the potential downsides of “invasivory.” And there ARE downsides. In the case of the Asian carp, managers have decided that harvest is an appropriate strategy for control, but it might not be for all species. There are cases where the risks probably outweigh the benefits, and in some cases, for example certain crabs in California, or lampreys in the Great Lakes, where harvest is discouraged and commercial harvest outlawed. You have done a great job of discussing the problematic nature of these invasive species, and that goes a long way toward the goals of controlling, rather than spreading, invasive species. But I think there is room for more caution about unintentionally or intentionally introducing these unwanted species to new locations. People who transport invasive plants could also easily distribute the seeds of the plants, and often unintentionally. The same goes for undesirable animal species–if you move them around to eat them, try not to let them escape and populate new areas. For something like crayfish, which are normally cooked just before eating, this is a real possibility. Furthermore, if people are making use of these organisms, even if only a few people are using them, it does provide an incentive for people to establish new populations in previously uninvaded places. For an invasive species, you can have many enemies, but you only need one friend, intentional or unintentional, to be transported and released elsewhere.

If we like the invasive organism, it is not invasive. Non-native trouts are not usually considered invasion. But love is in the eye of the beholder. It only takes one person to move an organism, even though the vast majority of the populace wishes it would go away.

So it makes sense to me that your site would include substantial caution to the public to avoid transfer of undesirable species to new places. I’m also a bit concerned about livelihoods and economies becoming wrapped up in species that we want to go away. In most cases, it’s a nonissue, because the species are not going away no matter what we want. But if new mousetraps are invented, it might be difficult to deploy them, if it means that a portion of the populace will lose income, even if deployment has big economic and environmental benefits.

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