The Asian carp population has exploded in the US – the fish can now be found in 12 states, despite attempts to curb the species’ spread. Now the state of Kentucky has hit upon a novel solution: send the fish back to China, where they are a prized delicacy.
Asian carp have been causing problems to US ecosystems by eating smaller fish, jumping into boats, and reproducing in vast numbers. The fish are a bonafide pest in the States, so a Kentucky processing plant plans to ship them back to Asian where they are a prized delicacy.
Speaking to NPR, plant owner Angie Wu, who is originally from China, said: “There are a lot [of carp] in China but most of them are farmed … not very clean as here.” So far, she has shipped more than a half-million pounds of processed carp to China. Other states are also catching on to the idea. In Illinois, Mike Schafer is shipping the carp to Chinese communities within the U.S. and Canada, where it they are valued as a cheap and plentiful source of protein.
In addition to devastating ecosystems, Asian carp have also affected Kentucky’s $1.2 billion tourism industry as many fishermen are longer able to catch other fish as frequently. Longtime fishermen and distributor, Ronnie Hopkins said to NPR: “I wish the state would get more involved and maybe use it as product in our schools. We’re buying from other countries and other states right now when we’ve got an abundance of fish we could use.”
Unfortunately, the Asian carp has not proved as popular in US restaurants as authorities would hope.