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Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-forget-the-tartar dept.
An anonymous reader writes NPR commentator Bonny Wolf has a unique solution to battle the threat of invasive fish species in our waterways. She proposes we fight them with a knife, fork, and a few lemon wedges. From the article: "Take the northern snakehead, which has made its way into tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. It competes with native species for food, and then eats the native species, not to mention the odd frog or bird, with its mouthful of sharp teeth. It's been called "Fishzilla." It breeds fast, has no natural predators and can grow to be 4 feet long. The northern snakehead hangs out in grassy shallows, making it hard to catch. But a couple of years ago, Maryland started promoting the snakehead as an eating fish. Its harvest has increased from zero to 5,000 pounds a year."
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Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives

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  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:13AM (#47692899) Homepage Journal

    I think the fish accidentally a word there with its mouthful of teeth!

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:39AM (#47692957) Homepage Journal

      closely related to the silverback semicolon, but watch out for those pointy asterisks

    • by istartedi (132515) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:44AM (#47692975) Journal

      Those are the fish that can move 1/4 mile across dry land to find new places to live. It probably crawled out of water and ate that word out of the summary.

      • Those are the fish that can move 1/4 mile across dry land to find new places to live.

        Well, that sounds like their weak point. Maybe we need to have Springfield Snakefish Days when it's dry and go around clubbing them?

        The summary says that they hang out in shallow, grassy waters. Some geek fisher here must have some techie ideas involving radar and shotguns that should help the problem.

    • by guises (2423402) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:36AM (#47693481)
      Bizarrely, I am encouraged that so many posts are pointing out the missing name. "Wow," I'm saying to myself, "The first three posts are all by people who have read the summary and not just the title." A tiny victory for intelligent discourse.

      Maybe I'm setting the bar too low.
    • by Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:53AM (#47694567)
      A fish so terrible it must not be named!!!
    • I see what the editors did there. This clearly was a ploy to trick us into reading TFA. Very clever. Almost as clever as the tasty northern snakehead fish. Good thing I caught it and refuse to RTFA like any true slashdotter!
  • 1. Take the ???.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    Genius.

  • "Promoting" how? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:23AM (#47692923) Homepage Journal

    Does "promoting" mean passing out some posters or getting rid of the requirement to purchase a fishing license from the State to keep the northern snakehead? There are plenty of folks out of work who could help here in a win-win situation. We already have systems in place to police the fish that people keep and removing all restrictions on invasive species taking would go a long way towards reducing their populations.

    • by usuallylost (2468686) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:37AM (#47693979)

      I agree that eating the invasive fish is a good idea. After all if we didn't put catch limits, and encourage catch and release, on the normal game fish people would have fished them to extinction. So really all we have to do is convince people they are good eating and then make no efforts to protect the invasive fish. My guess is once it gets going people will gleefully over fish them. Just have to make sure people stick to the undesirable fish.

      I don't know about lion fish but both Asian carp and northern snakeheads are good to eat. They eat Asian carp extensively in China and the northern snakehead is commonly consumed in Thailand. I have seen them for sale in markets where the northern snakehead was stuffed with what looked like lemon grass, other herbs and covered in a layer of salt and then grilled. I never tried it simply because I am not keen on fish.

      • I agree that eating the invasive fish is a good idea. After all if we didn't put catch limits, and encourage catch and release, on the normal game fish people would have fished them to extinction. So really all we have to do is convince people they are good eating and then make no efforts to protect the invasive fish. My guess is once it gets going people will gleefully over fish them. Just have to make sure people stick to the undesirable fish.

        I don't know about lion fish but both Asian carp and northern snakeheads are good to eat. They eat Asian carp extensively in China and the northern snakehead is commonly consumed in Thailand. I have seen them for sale in markets where the northern snakehead was stuffed with what looked like lemon grass, other herbs and covered in a layer of salt and then grilled. I never tried it simply because I am not keen on fish.

        A friend of mine regularly goes spear fishing after them. He swears they are tasty and good to eat. You just have to be careful with the spines when you clean these bad boys.

      • by tompaulco (629533)

        So really all we have to do is convince people they are good eating and then make no efforts to protect the invasive fish

        Oh, I'm sure the treehuggers will come out of the woodwork to protect the poor Northern SnakeHead and the Zebra mussel.

    • by RobinH (124750)
      If that were the case, I can see how it would promote the introduction of invasive species. That is, if you have a fishing lodge on Lake Somechamacallit, and you have to pay for a license to fish native species, why not then just import a breeding pair of invasive species, let nature run its course for a few years, and then fish all you like?
  • Creating demand? (Score:2, Interesting)

    could that possibly go the wrong way because you create demand so later there will be an incentive to actually put _more_ invasive fish into the habitat?

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      could that possibly go the wrong way because you create demand so later there will be an incentive to actually put _more_ invasive fish into the habitat?

      Even if, we'll probably overfish them, and it'll be save the snakeheads!

    • by maliqua (1316471)

      That's how they arrived in the first place... so the demand obviously existed in some form before

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:37AM (#47692955) Homepage Journal

    ...sometimes all you have to do is eat the problem.

  • Yum. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rick in China (2934527) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:43AM (#47692971)

    I've eaten this fish quite frequently in China, and it's actually quite tasty. I didn't realize it was so highly invasive, but some other fish (like Lionfish) seem to really f' up huge populations/ecosystems when they start to flourish where they don't belong, and I definitely agree that *eating them* is by far a better method than some other fish invasion control methods, like poisoning bodies of water and all adjacent bodies of water to kill everything.

    These m'f'rs can actually wriggle over land for a few days out of water to expand their territory. That's badass.

    • by oobayly (1056050)

      It's not a bad idea - in the UK the grey squirrels introduced from North America have caused havoc with the native red squirrel, it turns out they're quite tasty too - a local restaurant serves shredded squirrel meat. Same (apparently) goes for the signal crayfish that were introduced here.

      • by ihtoit (3393327)

        yeeeah... just don't get caught fishing them out of the Serpentine (there is a company does it under some sort of royal charter), but you're OK trapping them in the Thames.

      • by Rei (128717)

        Part of the problem is that most restaurants and stores would rather serve farm-raise game animals than wild-killed game. So if you manage to develop a taste for a particular type of meat, people will often start farm raising them.

  • An idea (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:43AM (#47692973) Homepage Journal

    In the meantime, though, his official slogan for the fish is, "Malicious but delicious."

    Hmmm, can we legalize cannibalism of politicians?

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:48AM (#47692981)

    The editors have already begun this process by eating the very name of the fish in question.

  • Before "Jaws", there wasn't much of a market for shark meat. Then demand picked up. Now, the shark population has dropped so much that sharks are facing extinction.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

      Before "Jaws", there wasn't much of a market for shark meat. Then demand picked up. Now, the shark population has dropped so much that sharks are facing extinction.

      Isn't it mostly the fins that are taken? The rest is of the shark is mostly worthless and gets dumped in the ocean... free market capitalism at it's finest. It is a pity that most sharks aren't as toxic to humans as the Greenland shark is. Greenland Shark can be eaten but the treatment required to make it edible makes it stink to high heaven.

    • by will_die (586523)
      Check the dates, sales did not go up back in the 70s it has gone up with a wealthier asian population who can now afford shark as a food source.
      There was a surge of killing, but not a market for the sale, after Jaws. However there has been an increase of sales of shark flesh,in the USA, with the popularity of "shark week" and an increase of the sale during that time.
    • by belmolis (702863)
      Shark was sold in Boston in the early 1980s, touted as a substitute for swordfish, which was more expensive and contained a lot of mercury. I don't know how well it did but I bought it occasionally. (In my opinion, it doesn't taste as good as swordfish, though there is a resemblance.)
  • by Rakhar (2731433) on Monday August 18, 2014 @03:01AM (#47693009)

    Same species, same proposed solution...back when they first appeared in the US.

  • Bioaccumulation Ahoy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mentil (1748130) on Monday August 18, 2014 @03:01AM (#47693011)

    One side-effect of this is that people who eat this fish will consume more mercury, PCBs and other harmful substances compared to if they ate the native (potentially restricted-catch) fish. This is due to the northern snakehead consuming poisons in the water plus toxins accumulated in the flesh of their prey. Humans who eat this fish (or any predatory fish) would thus consume more toxins than if they ate a fish (like much of its prey likely is) that only eats primary producers.

    The obvious solution involves Needle Snakes.
    Seriously though, how much can we interfere with nature to ensure some animals' survival, and continue to call it 'nature' with a straight face? Eventually, the figurative and literal cage bars make it indistinguishable from captivity. Isn't there a point where we should let evolution do its thing? I know that often leads to extinction, but if we're only keeping wild animals alive so we can eat their tasty flesh, then we may as well keep enough to eat captive.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @04:28AM (#47693209)

      You know, the solution for harmfull PCBs, mercury and shit isn't tp eat less fish, but to let less of that crap get in to the waters in the first place. A nation wide "don't poop where you eat" idea. And yes, it will cost some money, your tax money, to enforce the regulations. And yes, it will need some rules on what you can just dump into the rivers and lakes and ocean. And fuck the profits. You can't take the money with you anyways. Leave the damn ball cleaner and better than it was when you were born. That's really the only worthwhile goal mankind has at the moment that we can really do something about. Ihabitating space won't happen for a while, and needs more research. Earth we can save today, if we, as a species, could only get our collective heads out of our asses. Every bit helps. Do your share.

    • One side-effect of this is that people who eat this fish will consume more mercury, PCBs and other harmful substances compared to if they ate the native (potentially restricted-catch) fish.

      Citation very much needed.

      • by ruir (2709173)
        You dont need a citation, you just need common sense, and being able to think about you read. Carnivore fishes/animals have bioaccumulation of toxins of their preys. News at 11.
        • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:48AM (#47693383)

          1) Have you any evidence of any surplus of heavy metals in the abovementioned waters?

          2) Have you any evidence that other species of fish from the area have been ruled off limits due to heavy metals contamination?

          3) Have you any evidence that this particular species of fish has a record of being a heavy metal accummulator due to its feeding strategies anywhere?

          You sound like some boob that read something about tuna one time without actually understanding it. Locally pike fish are the equivalent - I wouldn't eat them but that's because they taste like shit, although they're popular in France so maybe I'm just cooking them wrong. They're perfectly safe to eat.

          • Okay, here's your first citation.

            http://www.elizabethriver.org/ [elizabethriver.org]

            Now, having worked on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I can assure you that it is common in the newspapers to have articles about projects to restart clam and oyster aquaculture, which crashed, resulting in a spike in pollution in the water.

            But more to the point, I worked at Atlantic Metrocast, where the land had been taken over by the military during world war 2, and all kinds of extremely toxic munitions leaked in. That site is a superfund site

            • by Muad'Dave (255648)

              Let's move on up to the James ...

              You forgot the kepone scare of the 70's [wikipedia.org] that shut down the James from Richmond to the Chesapeake for 13 years.

            • Open your eyes and look for yourself, and quit with the laziness, because that's what it is.

              Asking for evidence is laziness now? You must have a lot of time on your hands.

              • by sjames (1099)

                Asking for evidence that the sky appears blue and that the moon isn't actually cheese is laziness.

                • Possibly you missed the part where this particular fish isn't on any advisories - just like the local equivalent I mentioned.

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    You asked the wrong questions though. The pollution in those waters is well known. He never claimed that the level of accumulation was sufficient for an advisory. And finally, all predatory fish are bio-accumulators. This is well understood.

                    The more useful question or comment would be to ask for a comparison with native pike or to simply point out that some of the native fish are also predatory.

          • by ihtoit (3393327)

            http://hal.archives-ouvertes.f... [archives-ouvertes.fr] three SE England estuaries all showing elevated heavy metal concentrations in sediment. Shellfish concentrate HMs for example lead and mercury, fish concentrate mercury in particular. Up the food chain, bioavailability increases. This is why fish farms regularly test for heavy metals and why you won't find any near industrial effluent outlets such as pretty much anywhere South of The Wash or East of Brighton.

          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            2) Have you any evidence that other species of fish from the area have been ruled off limits due to heavy metals contamination?

            http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Documents/Fish%20Consumption%20Docs/Maryland_Fish_Advisories_2014_Web_bluecatedit.pdf [state.md.us]

            Recommended Meals/Month varies from
            "Avoid" and "1 every other month" to
            "8" and "No Restrictions"

          • by Mr Foobar (11230)

            As a long time resident of the Central Florida - Orlando area, I give you beautiful Lake Apopka.

            Ah, once beautiful. It was the bass fishing capital of the South. Large clean lake, the tastiest bass you could ever catch. A virtual paradise before Disney.

            Then WW2 happened, the top third of the lake was drained for war-time farming. Then the land was given over to the farmers, who loved their pesticides and fertilizers. All that flushed into the lake, freely and without restriction.

            The fish, and everything els

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          You dont need a citation, you just need common sense, and being able to think about you read

          Thank you Jenny McCarthy.

  • by opslashdot (1175689) on Monday August 18, 2014 @03:37AM (#47693079)
    In Europe we have been eating this type of invasive specie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wels_catfish) for long but... As its flesh is tasty and as selling these fishes has become quite successfull, we now have farms of such fishes! Of course, these farms compete against fishing in living waters! So, eating invasive species may not be the most successful way of getting rid of them...
    • by ruir (2709173)
      Catfishes may be cheaper, however we have natural species much more tastier.
    • by tp1024 (2409684)

      You don't want to get rid of the fish, you want to get rid of the problem. Such a fish in a farm isn't a problem.

  • Love Invasive Fish (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:38AM (#47693489)

    I have fished in Florida for 60 years and I flat out love invasive species. They are exciting to catch and easy to catch if one knows how. I was catching snakeheads for several years before reporters first mentioned them. The are very similar to the Bowfins we have always had in Florida and I suspect that they have been in the wild for decades as the fish we thought were bowfins were way to large to actually be bowfins in many vases. We also have oscars as well as many cychlids, peacock bass and rainbow bass as well. So far I haven't seen any silver carp or big head carp but I'm sure they will do well here. We have a mule like Russian carp that was installed to stop certain weeds that get up to about 15 lbs.. And we have the lion fish in salt water in abundance. It adds to the sport of fishing. I say the more species the better. Pythons are common here and we have so many wild hogs that we sort of need the pythons to snag a few. Coyotes also are here as are armadillos which are also invaders. I still like them all.

  • The Asian Carp tastes like shit. It's a greasy, nasty-tasting meat with a mushy texture. Maybe if you put enough breading and spices and deep fry it long enough, you might be able to turn it into a mystery meat and pass it off to someone starving.

    It sounds like a great idea, but no. Maybe it could be ground up and fed to cats or used as fertilizer. It would be preferable to then bread and deep fry the cat and eat that then to eat an Asian Carp.

    And before you tell me that they eat Asian Carp in some god-

    • It's a greasy, nasty-tasting meat with a mushy texture.

      McDonald's has made a fortune with that. A McSnakehead might appeal to kids and metal heads, if they included a toy with it.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Big difference. I understand that snakehead is palatable if prepared well. Not so the Asian Carp, which can at best be camouflaged and even then has a bitter, cloying flavor.

        We've got them here in Chicago. I've tasted them. Awful.

    • by gtall (79522)

      I've eaten catfish...it is most tasteless excuse for a fish I've ever eaten. Maybe I ate the wrong kind, but if you have to spice it that much to make it palatable, I'll pass. Maybe if they got them to eat garlic, that would help.

      • by anjrober (150253)

        i believe the previous post was saying they eat Cat, not catfish. the actual cat, like your pet.

        catfish can be prepared very nicely. its eaten all over the midwest and south. perfectly tasty fish.

        i eat about anything, but even i have to skip the actual cat. garfield can't be tasty.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Oh man, catfish is terrific if prepared well. We had a thing here in Chicago where several top chefs were invited to prepare Asian Carp (because Lake Michigan and the rivers around here are full of 'em). Completely by accident, my wife and I happened upon this little competition/PR event, and got to taste some. Whew. The biggest challenge for the chefs was to cover their nasty smell, which doesn't go away when cooked.

        I've eaten all sorts of "garbage" fish, including smelt, caught fresh from Lake Michiga

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:38AM (#47693669) Homepage

    Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has been suggesting this approach for years with this and other invasive species. Ultimately it's the only way to go. When you say the fish "has no natural predators" - well, I know a *bunch* of potential predators....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @07:57AM (#47693733)

    but I dont want to eat Americans, they will be high in fat and taste horrible due to all the steroids and hormones they ingest in their meat and the beer that tastes like piss they drink.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:31AM (#47693927)

    Now all we need is some invasive species of chips.

  • ... that it is an aphrodisiac. It'll be extinct in no time.

  • by KindMind (897865) on Monday August 18, 2014 @11:47AM (#47695691)

    Two Rivers Fisheries [tworiversfisheries.com] is already doing this - they fish for Asian Carp, and sell it overseas.

    Article about them [harvestpublicmedia.org]

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