CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Illinois Department of Natural Resources held a statewide cookout at nine local locations to help reduce an invasive species in Illinois waterways.
The Giant City State Park partnered with Cristaudo’s Café in Carbondale to help remove Asian Carpe from Illinois waterways. They prepared a Jamaican escovitch taco filling out of Asian Carp to serve to the public.
Park Natural Resources Coordinator, Jennifer Randolph-Bollinger said Asian Carp came to Illinois in the 70s. Now, their population has exploded due to flooding washing out major waterways.
“They have a horrendous appetite, they eat a lot and they also breed very fast, so their population is increasing more and more,” said Bollinger.
Director of Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences at SIU Carbondale, Jim Garvey, said the viable method right now is harvest the fish, to help control the population.
“Potentially just a couple years or so, we should see a big takeoff in the number of fish being removed from the rivers” said Garvey.
Garvey and Bollinger said the fish is highly nutritious and just as tasty.
Bollinger said if they can convince people it’s a delicious fish to eat, then here can be a market for it. “I can see a lot of local restaurants serving it on their menus.”
Cristaudo’s will serve this dish at upcoming Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen events in the coming weeks.