The Missouri Department of Conservation have an appetizing plan to get rid of an invasive species of carp in the Mississippi River. Over three-thousand people showed up for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Day at the River event on Saturday.
The event’s goal, according to co-leader of the event Angela Pierce, was to show what the Mississippi River has to offer. “So many people live in Cape Girardeau and they don’t know about the river, that are scared of the river, and they have never been on the river. So, we just want to kind of engage that awareness,” Pierce said.
The MDC offered boat rides, an aquatic petting zoo, an Asian carp fileting demonstration, and informational booths about native wetland species.
Christi Colyer is a mother of two daughters who came to their first Day on the River. She says their time spent at the river was very enjoyable. “Oh we like it, we’ve never been down here before. We just went to the farmer’s market and somebody was telling us about it so they’re having a lot of fun,” Colyer said.
Out of all the fish people commonly eat, Asian carp is not usually thought of as a main course. The MDC plan to change that, by teaching people how to properly filet and prepare fish. MDC ecologist Quinton Phelps gave the demonstration on Saturday at the Day at the River event at Cape Girardeau’s riverfront, and constantly surprised people with a fish he considers delicious.
“The beauty of this fish is that it doesn’t taste fishy. If you don’t like the taste of fish you would certainly like this fish. The beauty of this product is that it will take on the characteristic flavors of whatever seasoning that you put on this fish,” Phelps said.
The MDC is aiming to push Asian carp into the food market as an effective way to whittle down the numbers of this invasive species. These fish are known to reproduce and grow faster than most native fish species and consume a huge amount of the native’s natural food source, plankton.