'Eat MO Carp' campaign takes on Mid-Missouri
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri is working with an MU professor to help solve the growing Asian carp problem in the Midwest.
Broadway Brewery hosted the first official event to familiarize the community with Asian carp Saturday. The Asian carp was imported from China in the 1970s to help purify the water in U.S. streams. After escaping captivity and wildly reproducing the species has become out of control and threatens the balance of the ecosystem.
"It's displacing out native species, from the river systems, but we're trying to stop the fish from getting to the great lakes," Dr. Mark Morgan, 'Eat Mo Carp' project leader and MU associate professor in the School of Natural Resources, said. "This threatens and could damage a multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry. We're not doing enough as a nation to address this particular problem. What better way than to eat it?"
According to Morgan, the owner of Broadway Brewery is a former biology professor and was excited to get on board. The invasive species was featured on the menu during the Concert Against Rogue Piscines (CARP). Local musicians Pippa Letsky, Noah Earle and Ian Vardell played while attendees were able to ample specially crafted carp dishes from executive chef Eric Seidler.
"It mesmerized me how mild the fish is, how well it takes on other flavors, and how easy it is to manipulate into other things," said Seidler.
Six establishments in downtown Columbia have considered adding the fish to their menus.
"It's a low-fat source of protein that's affordably priced," Morgan said.
All of the proceeds from the "Eat MO Carp" events will go toward an Asian carp fund created by Morgan, to assist in research, public events and educational efforts.
"Of course we're not trying to solve it; we're not going to remove all the carp from the rivers and streams. It's just a matter of educating the population in a fun and tasty way," said Morgan.
Up next for the campaign is the National Bow Fishing tournament in Springfield. The Eat MO Carp team will be serving carp and was also given a large donation from the Springfield Bass Pro Shop.
"Its research into action," Morgan said.