Double Down on McAsian Carp

This Sunday’s New York Times has an article about how we are extincting Bluefin Tuna because we love it to death. We’re eating them all. The BP oil disaster may be the final blow.

At the same time, we have a problem in the Great Lakes with Asian Carp invading the ecosystem and multiplying out of control.

I’m sure you see where this is going.

So I’m posting a link to Asian Carp recipes here. They are good in coconut milk with lemon grass, but what isn’t?

One reason carp have been able to multiply uncaught is their reputation as bottom-feeders. Northerners who think nothing of eating raw clams from the bay won’t touch them, but a defense of carp is found here.

You have to be careful with fish from lakes, because sadly our lakes are polluted and some fish concentrate toxins like mercury. Mashapaug Pond is closed to fishing and swimming due to a century of pollution from Gorham Silver and other sources. Stay away from the water unless you want to turn blue and glow in the dark.

Fortunately, I was able to find a study of the Asian Carp, which seems to show that the fish are not any worse than other fish you can pull out of the Great Lakes. You can’t eat a lot of it, but you can eat it. Since toxins concentrate more in the skin, there might be ways to cook it that minimize the risk.

Would Asian Carp make a good fillet o’ fish sandwich? With the grease and the special sauce, who’d notice? In Japan they are having to learn to like the taste of dried jellyfish. So carp is better.

As a species, we are never going to stop being voracious. We just have to learn to use our appetite as a force for good. This is likely to be easier than curbing our appetite for cheap fuel, that is rapidly becoming terribly costly.

Attack of the Blob

It’s been said that the Earth will do just fine, no matter what imbalances the six billion of us inflict on her. The Earth will adjust, but we may not.

A reporter on NPR was talking to some fishermen in Japan, who have had to learn to cope with huge harvests of jellyfish and dwindling catch of anything else. The recipe for making the blobs edible involved laborious soaking and drying, using many changes of fresh water–a resource not unlimited. The end product looked like dried skin and smelled like old cheese. Get used to it…

KOKONOGI, Japan – A blood-orange blob the size of a small refrigerator emerged from the dark waters, its venomous tentacles trapped in a fishing net. Within minutes, hundreds more were being hauled up, a pulsating mass crowding out the catch of mackerel and sea bass.

The fishermen leaned into the nets, grunting and grumbling as they tossed the translucent jellyfish back into the bay, giants weighing up to 200 kilograms (450 pounds), marine invaders that are putting the men’s livelihoods at risk.

An earlier post on the same topic is here. But what can I say? Nothing spoils a day at the beach like a carpet of jellyfish washed up by the tide. Earth will adapt to warmer, dirtier oceans. The people who live off the land and the sea will be the first to call the alarm. I think fish is going to be a luxury food when our children are our age.

It’s not just the seas. The land is getting warmer. Corn crops fail when it gets too hot. Time to look for alternatives.

Learn to Love Sardines

I don’t mind them myself. Everything I read in the news leads to the conclusion that eating less beef, pork and chicken is good for health and good for the general welfare on a polluted planet.

But fish — always a good choice, right?

Nope. Not when factory fish farming has the same drawbacks as factory chicken farming…

— The wildly popular farm-raised fish known as tilapia may actually harm your heart, thanks to low levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids. FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) Amanda Gardner

[Read the rest of this for good nutrition info.]

Tilapia is only ‘wildly popular’ because it is cheap compared to the increasingly expensive cod and tuna. The article goes on to says that farmed catfish isn’t great either, which doesn’t surprise me because tilapia and catfish both taste like mud. The problem is that the farmed fish are being fed cheap food, maybe stale potato chips or something, and the second law of thermodynamics says you can’t get something for nothing.

I see a frightening trend for the future in the increase in jellyfish recipes. (See ‘Return of the Blob’)

Sardines are still cheap and very nutritious. But the first law of Karma says that what goes around comes around. Pollution, overfishing and global warming may bring us to a point where we’re grateful for pickled jellies. Learn to love wasabi.