Illinois DNR Says Let Them Eat Carp

DNR launches a campaign to use Asian carp to feed the hungry

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Could the invasive species help relieve hunger in Chicagoland? (Published Thursday, Sep 22, 2011)

    If you can't beat them, eat them.

    That's the quest of a new campaign from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to use Bighead Asian Carp to feed the hungry.

    Asian Carp has long been a big issue for states bordering the Mississippi River. Now the invasive fish is threatening the Great Lakes, creating controversy among state governments.

    Illinois DNR Director Mark Miller told NBCChicago Thursday the problem-making carp have nutritional value and can be used as food.

    "Many people think the Asian Carp is the same as the common Carp," said Illinois DNR Director Mark Miller. "This fish feeds on algae and plankton. It is healthier for you and tastes better."

    Not convinced?

    Louisiana chef Philippe Parola volunteered to help out. 

    Parola, who will help instruct the public on ways to prepare the fish, says Asian carp have a very plain taste and is a clean meat. The fish has a very bony structure, though, and the chef warns deboning is a more difficult process.

    The DNR wants to use the fish in soup kitchens and food pantries and argues this to be a great way to fight hunger because of the carp's abundance and cheap price.