Several species of heavy-bodied cyprinid fishes are collectively known in the United States as Asian carp. Cyprinids from the Indian subcontinent—for example, catla (Catla catla) and mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus)—are not included in this classification and are known collectively as “Indian carp”. The Asian carp is considered an invasive species in the United States.
Asian carp (bighead, black, grass, and silver carp) were imported to the United States in the 1970s as a method to control nuisance algal blooms in wastewater treatment plants and aquaculture ponds as well as for human food. Within ten years, the carp escaped confinement and spread to the waters of the Mississippi River basin and other large rivers like the Missouri and Illinois.
Asian carp are in direct competition with native aquatic species for food and habitat. Their rapid population increase is disrupting the ecology and food web of the large rivers of the Midwest. In areas where Asian carp are abundant, they have harmed native fish communities and interfered with commercial and recreational fishing…..CLICK & SEE
Experts are extremely concerned about the consequences of Asian carp invading the Great Lakes, where the carp would negatively affect the $7 billion-a-year fishing industry.
Ten Asian carp have been substantially introduced outside their native ranges:
*Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
*Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
*Amur carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus)
*Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
*Largescale silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys harmandi)
*Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
*Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)
*Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
*Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)
*Mud carp (Cirrhinus molitorella)
All the above, except largescale silver carp, have been cultivated in aquaculture in China for over 1,000 years. Largescale silver carp, a more southern species, is native to Vietnam and is cultivated there. Grass, silver, bighead, and black carp are known as the “Four Domesticated Fish” in China and are the most important freshwater fish species for food and traditional Chinese medicine. Bighead and silver carp are the most important fish, worldwide, in terms of total aquaculture production. Common carp, amur carp and crucian carp are also common food fishes in China and elsewhere. Goldfish, though, are cultivated mainly as pet fish. Common carp are native to both Eastern Europe and Western Asia, so they are sometimes called a “Eurasian” carp.
Bighead, silver, and grass carp are known to be well-established in the Mississippi River basin (including tributaries), where they at times reach extremely high numbers, especially in the case of the bighead and silver carp. Bighead, silver, and grass carp have been captured in that watershed from Louisiana to South Dakota, Minnesota, and Ohio. Grass carp are also established in at least one other watershed, in Texas, and may be established elsewhere.
Grass carp have been captured in all of the Great Lakes except Lake Superior, but so far, no evidence indicates a reproducing population. No silver carp or black carp have yet been found in any of the Great Lakes. Common carp are abundant throughout the Great Lakes.
A few bighead and grass carp have been captured in Canada’s portions of the Great Lakes, but no Asian carp (other than common carp) is known to be established in Canada at this time. Concerns exist that the silver carp may spread into Cypress Hills in Alberta and Saskatchewan through Battle Creek (Milk River), the Frenchman River, and other rivers flowing south out of the hills into the Milk River.
In Mexico, grass carp have been established for many years in at least two river systems, where they are considered invasive, but no other Asian carp are known to have been introduced.
Asian carp have been a popular food fish in Asia for thousands of years. Some recipes are specifically for carp such as Tángcù L?yú [zh] (sweet-and-sour carp) and Koikoku [ja] (thick miso soup with carp). However, many people in North America do not distinguish the various Asian carp species and see them all as undesirable food fish because of their perceived bottom-feeding behavior, while, in fact, only some species are bottom-feeders. Furthermore even the bottom-feeding species such as the common carp, a highly bony species which was introduced to North America from Eurasia in the 17th century, are important food fish outside North America.
The pearly white flesh—complicated by a series of bones—is said to taste like cod or described as tasting like a cross between scallops and crabmeat. They are low in mercury because they do not eat other fish. To make the fish more appealing to American consumers, the fish have been renamed silverfin or Kentucky tuna. Volunteer efforts to increase the popularity further include making and selling carp-based dishes and using the entrails to make fertilizer.