OK Wildlife Dept Is Fighting Fish Invasion With Recipes
If you spend enough time around fishermen, you'll hear one species of fish or another being called "trash fish" or something along the like. Why? Well, it's because as humans, we naturally only love what we know. I wouldn't go as far as to call it clinical closed-mindedness, but if that particular boat shoe fits...
I noticed it at an early age here in Oklahoma. My family had moved here from Louisiana. Since we were poor, entertainment consisted of cheap and mostly free outdoors stuff like fishing. There was a reservoir and dam just outside the town we moved to, so we would find ourselves casting lines quite often out there. Politely finding an open spot, starting a conversation with the guys next to you, an all around good time.
I'll never forget the first time I saw a guy throw a really good sized gar back into the spillway almost angry he had to deal with what he thought was a trash fish. We were stunned as gar is quite a tasty delicacy back in Louisiana, but they know how to prep and cook it. A good sized one might have pounds and pounds of clean, white backstrap in it, how did these Oklahoma outdoorsmen not know this?
Skip ahead to this century, this is the tactic the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is now pushing to combat our waters latest invasive species, the Asian-American Carp - AKA - the Silver Carp. It's an ugly, stinky fish that received fame some fifteen years ago online, and odds are you've seen it. As boats move up the river-ways, they go into a frenzy and start jumping out of the water like crazy. Like most anglers across the Southern states, they typically think of all carp fish as trash fish, not knowing just how many people eat them on a daily basis.
It's true, of the delectable couple of species commonly found in restaurants across the nation, you won't find the silver carp on menus, even though there's been a movement to get them served up for a long time. In part, there's the invasive nature of them, but an entire economy could spring up around them just due to the shear numbers of them. Even the Duck Dynasty made an episode that watched more like a PSA for eating these fish back in 2017.
Even more shocking, the edible species of carp, including the silver carp, are superfood-levels of healthy for people when prepared in a baked or grilled fashion. Lots of intramuscular oil responsible for that fishy taste in most red and pink meat fish, which some people love and others really hate. Either way, if you have a good solid spice base for frying, it's all good. So if you decide to put carp on the family table sometime soon, your Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation thanks you.