Conservation Officials Want You To Eat Asian Carp

Jan 25, 2018

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

Credit Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Several varieties of Asian carp are 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 carp dishes.

The menu included seared Asian carp cakes with a Cajun sauce and potato-wrapped Asian carp with a fire-roasted tomato emulsion. 

Asian carp cakes served with Cajun sauce over a fried green tomato.
Credit Mark Schultz / Illinois Public Media

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.

"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 as Louisiana and Illinois 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.

"If people are eating it, that fish is not reproducing," said Dawn Aubrey, Associate Director, University Housing Dining Services.