When does an invasive species become the dominant species in an ecosystem? Or, to put it another way, when do we stop hating invasive carp and learn to love the species in that most Minnesotan of ways, dipped in batter and deep fried on a stick at the State Fair?
It seems a reasonable question, given that a National Park Service biologist says invasive silver carp have swum up the Mississippi as far as Lock and Dam No. 1. Not that anyone has actually seen the marauding fish. Instead, its DNA has been found in water samples taken downstream of the dam. But the carp are coming.
The State of Illinois has already learned to roll with the punches in this dilemma, signing up a Louisiana chef in an effort to tart up the carp’s image and use it to help feed folks who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from.
“We are in uncharted water here,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris McCloud. “Why remove them and put them into a landfill when you can take them and use them for good?
This is a market opportunity waiting to happen. And if this video is any indication, harvesting the carp will be a whole lot easier and cheaper than scoring a booth to sell the bony fish at the State Fair.