Thanks for the article on Asian carp from Wednesday, April 8. The carp invasion in Louisiana is real, and the need to thwart their currently unfettered proliferation is pressing. Walls, dams, weirs and electric fences have proven ineffective and exorbitantly expensive.
I believe most American taxpayers would be appalled by the amount of federal tax money being funneled to the Great Lakes states to promote, legitimize and fund these “bridge to nowhere” type projects to stop carp from entering Lake Michigan. I wish I had any confidence whatsoever they will succeed. But even up there, there remains no other economically viable option to stem the tide than to bring these fish to the table as Chef Parola advocates.
Here in Louisiana, we have no single lake or waterway to protect! We have hundreds! Our carp problem is no less harmful to our natural resources, nor does it have any less economic impact on our fisheries than up north, yet we are deprived of any funding that may help us with our carp. The misinformation and ignorance to this issue only feeds into to the hands of those who push redundant impact studies, seek perpetual scientific grants and put forth endless pork barrel projects to secure more federal money.
We know what has to be done. Let’s do what we in Louisiana should. Look to private enterprise for help. The federal government will not solve this problem here (nor will it up north).
These two particular species of carp are not the indigenous common, grass or buffalo carp that Louisiana already had. These are invaders from another place. But unlike the aforementioned species, the Asians (bighead and silver), are actually very tasty and have a very eye-appealing white color when cooked. These two characteristics alone scream edible! And edible means salable. And salable means viable. This is a recipe for success when utilizing a renewable resource, invasive or not.
The U.S. is pushing past 80 percent of all seafood consumed being imported. That number includes Louisiana, despite everyone’s fondness for domestic-caught seafood here in Louisiana. That trend is not abating; instead, it is still gaining. It’s not likely to stop anytime soon.
Being directly involved in the Louisiana seafood industry for over 40 years afforded me great insight into how fast politics alters domestic seafood production by enacting pernicious legislation on the whims of wealthy or influential user groups. Here is a chance to actually gain some of that domestic production back. This fish is prevalent, it’s easy to harvest, and it’s delicious! I’ve seen and eaten many of the variations of preparedness. I welcome the day Chef Parola secures the processing facility and can’t wait to start selling the finished product!
Robert “Robbie” Walker
co-owner/general manager, Louisiana Seafood Exchange Inc.