Wednesday, July 13, 2016
They are not good guests. Their enthusiasm all too regularly runs away with them. We get anywhere near, and they go bananas, come out of the water like fleshy demons, jump--totally uninvited--into people's boats, whack kids and grandmas who certainly hadn't figured on getting slapped up. They break up parties, simply take over pontoons.
They're Asian carp, whose name gets capitalized only because it's the name of a very real place. They don't deserve to be upper case because they're pernicious, downright dangerous--and, as long as we're at it, pestilential. That's right. Even right here on the Big Sioux, they've taken over healthy stretches of the river, and, what's worse is they're not small.
We're not talking panfish here--we're talking about a full rack of ribs coming at you thirty miles an hour out of nowhere. You've seen the videos. Incredible. Broke some poor girl's jaw down in Kentucky. She was in a fishing tournament and one of them took her home as a trophy.
They test our ability to work cross-culturally because they are foreigners, recent immigrants, brought to this country to keep down the vegetation in domestic fish ponds. Some people think a Mississippi flood offered them passage into the America's waterways, but experts say that's urban myth. However they got into our waters, they did, by the gadzillions.
Some claim they're an official infestation. You can't navigate some areas of the rivers throughout the Midwest without a hard hat, and they can reach 40 pounds--that's not a rack of ribs, that's a side of beef.
Just about everyone says the meat is as white and wonderful, firm and tasty as perch, as tilapia or cod. But for good reason Americans simply won't eat anything named "carp," except if it's cooked up traditionally: nail the fish to a board, lay the fish and the board out in the sun for two weeks, toss the fish and eat the board.
But go ahead and look for yourself: fine fish chefs will tell you--and show you--that Asian carp is as good as any five-star fish, as long as you look out for the bones.
And we're not about to run out of them: the average female will produce a million eggs per season, We've simply got too many.
So next tomorrow night, right here on the Big Sioux, some expert from the DNR will come by with a boat specially equipped to boom them out of the water, to kill them by the boat load, and thereby demonstrate how wildlife management is trying to keep down the Asian pestilence taking over the Big Sioux. What surfaces will be fed to eagles and other hungry raptors.
Here's an idea for some Sioux County entrepeneur. We already lead the state in pork, beef, and chicken production; and we're not far behind in dairy. If you want a great steak, come to Sioux County. If you want a pork chop that'll take your breath away, you can get the very best right here.
What you can't get is a deluxe serving of fresh fish. Gotta have water for that.
Hey, wait. There's a ton of great fish to be had here. A whole new market. Value added, just waiting for some Sioux County guy chasing a big-money dream, some guy with a hammer and a nail, and 160 acres of boards.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:52 AM