Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Asian carp, threatening Great Lakes, to be sold as food in Louisiana to help limit population

In November we reported about the ongoing threat invasive Asian carp are posing to the Great Lakes. Now a group of Louisiana companies is hoping to turn the nuisance into a marketable meal, The Associated Press reports. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries marketing plan calls for the carp to be branded "silverfin," and the agency recently approved preliminary rules for the harvesting of the fish. Several restaurants and food companies have already developed recipes like silverfin cakes and silverfin almondine.

Rivere Foods of Paincortville will be the lead processor, New Orleans Fish House will be distributing the frozen products, and Rouse's Supermarket is the first official buyer, AP reports. Chef Philippe Parola, CEO of Chef Parola Enterprises and Partran, describes the silverfin taste as a cross between scallops and crab meat. "This is being done without any taxpayer dollars," Parola told AP. "This is our money."

Parola was among the chefs leading the way in cooking alligator meat (tastes like a free-range chicken!) and was partly behind the effort to promote softshell crawfish before he decided it was "too expensive." Parola's most famous endeavor may have been attempting to sell the nation on nutria meat several years ago; that plan failed due to the swamp rodent's resemblance to an overgrown rat, Parola says. "If we can't do something with silverfin, we are clowns. It's too good to ship to Asia, it's too good to use as bait, and it's too good to leave on the bank," he told AP. (Read more)

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