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Carp: Colbert, Kentucky and Garfield Park

By JoshMogerman in News on Jul 10, 2010 8:00PM

The fish that everyone wants to go away…won’t. Asian carp popped up in the news even more broadly than in our waterways this week.

A nearly record-breaking Asian carp was caught in Chicago’s Garfield Park yesterday. After 35 minutes of fighting, Spencer Miller hauled a whopper out of the West Side park lagoon. The fish was more than four feet in length and tipped the scales just a few ounces under the Illinois record of 69 pounds. At the bait shop where the fish was officially weighed, one horrified fisherman told CBS2:

"That's just bad news right there. That could be the end of fishing one day probably in my life, once they're in the Great Lakes," Rob Civinelli said.

That concern is probably misplaced in this particular case, as the park is located far from the Chicago River and canals that have sparked concerns that the massive invasive fish could find a pathway into Lake Michigan. But it does beg the question of how the carp got into Garfield Park (NBC5 has video that seems to show plenty more in the lagoon (though they could be common carp), which is a story in itself as a troublesome fish kill has left the area reeking of dead fish). Chicago Sun-Times’ Dale Bowman, Chicago’s fishing king, suggests that the carp may have been unintentionally introduced when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocked area lagoons with catfish. Yikes, has the Asian carp invasion infested even the State’s fish ponds?

There is plenty of concern about Asian carp outside of Chicago. Ohio’s Governor and Attorney General have requested another White House carp summit after news that the fish are spawning in an Indiana River system that opens the door to the carp to reach Lake Erie in heavy flooding.

Calls for a knife and fork solution to the carp problem are nothing new. The State of Louisiana suggests repackaging the fish under the name “silverfin” to make them more palatable to American consumers. Chicago chef Phillip Foss suggests the name “Shanghai bass.” This week a new suggestion was floated by Kentucky State University, “Kentucky Tuna." Kentucky is a lovely state, but the problem with all these re-branding suggestions is that the fish is what it is---boney and difficult to work with in the kitchen. Which means that no matter what we call it, the ever-expanding American gut probably will not have an impact on the issue anytime soon. But don’t take our word for it, Stephen Colbert weighed in on the topic this week too (Kentucky tuna comes in at the 2:20 mark, portions of the full clip border on NSFW):

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food - Kentucky Tuna & Grilled Cheese Burger Melt<a>
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News