Asian Carp / Food Banks
2:27 pm
Mon July 4, 2011

Invasive Asian carp: protien-rich offering for Ill. food banks?

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Asian carp - the invasive fish that's plagued Illinois rivers and is threatening the Great Lakes could soon become a staple at food banks.

Todd Main, with the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's more than two hundred million pounds of Asian carp swimming in the state's rivers.

He says by catching, processing, and storing the whitefish, the state can rid its rivers of the carp and get more protein into the diets of low-income residents.

"When we think of carp, we think of the rough bottom feeders that we all know," Main said. "The difference with Asian carp is that they feed at the top of the water column and they're much cleaner tasting fish and becomes a very nice white fish."

The department hopes to have the fish on food pantry shelves by the end of the summer.

Main vouches for the fish's flavor.  But he admits convincing other people that Asian carp actually tastes good is the biggest barrier.