Re: NANFA-L-- Carp News (was: Fish crash)
Tue, 24 May 2005 10:35:33 -0500

Moon, carp is probably less likely to hold high levels of heavy metals,
persistent pesticides, and industrial chemicals than are sports fishes
like largemouth bass. These materials "biomagnify," meaning that each
step up the food chain concentrates the material more, because of
trophic principles and storage of the materials in a body depot like
fat. Sharks are particularly problematic because they live so long as
well as being top predators. A large fish of any species generally
holds a higher concentration of the pollutant than does a smaller one.
Fatty top predators like mackeral are among the worst offenders.
Salmon, especially farm raised ones that eat more fish than wild ones,
also have fairly high levels because they are fatty, though not so high
as top predators. I haven't seen any data for flathead catfish, but
what about the big ones commonly caught by trot liners. They are top
predators, and very fatty.

Mercury is a particular problem, because it has become generally
distributed worldwide due to coal burning power plants. Most states
have alerts out for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass because the
body burden of mercury is so high, regardless of the quality of water
from which the fish was taken. For example, in Oklahoma, the alert
suggests that the maximum consumption of bass for a healthy adult
should be two 4 oz meals per month. For children and women of
childbearing age, the recommended limit is no consumption of bass.
That applies to Ozark streams with no industry in the watershed, the
same as to the Canadian and Deep Fork Rivers in Oklahoma City.

The Clean Air Act has a provision to require coal burning power plants
to reduce their mercury emissions. The Bush Administration is trying
to implement what it calls the Clear Skies Initiative, which would keep
such reductions smaller (because the power generators and coal industry
have lobbied for that). Since the provisions of the Clear Skies
Initiative would ultimately result in less mercury emission than occurs
now (though considerably more than under the provisions of the Clean
Air Act), the administration is proclaiming that it will improve air
quality, and that crazy environmentalists are opposing it.

Have a child, grandchild, or the potential for either? Want to teach
them about responsible harvest and use of natural resources (ie - take
your kid fishing and eat the catch)? Bush administration says, "Whoa,
mercury pollution is too important to electric utilities for us to keep
the Clean Air Act in force to protect that resource."

Squids are excellent food, the species that occur inshore mostly live 1-
3 years, and they are not top predators. Fresh ones like you get are
scrumptious in a good bouillabaise, or just stir fried with some

David L. McNeely, Ph.D., Professor of Biology
Langston University; P.O. Box 1500
Langston, OK 73050; email:
telephone: (405) 466-6025; fax: 405) 466-3307
home page

"Where are we going?" "I don't know, are we there yet?"

----- Original Message -----
Date: Monday, May 23, 2005 11:31 pm
Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Carp News (was: Fish crash)

> In a message dated 5/23/05 3:08:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> >
> > But, I have not found common carp to be much to my liking,
> though I
> > have tried to force it. I know that it is a preferred food fish
> among
> > many, and surely I ate it many times in various commercial
> preparations
> > when I was younger. But I've not been able to prepare it so
> that it
> > was as tasty as most other fish. Or, better said, it was too
> tasty
> > (that is, it had too much taste). Euel Gibbons claimed it was
> > delictable. I just found it strong tasting.
> >
> >
> Having eaten many carp in the five to ten pound range I can say
> that carp can
> be very tasty. You do have to skin them instead of just scaling
> them and
> along the side where the lateral line is you will find a strip of
> darker meat that
> follows where the lateral line was. Cut this dark meant out and
> cook the meat
> according your favorite recipe and you will have a tasty fish.
> Pond raised
> carp are better than river carp but both can be quite good. Best
> one I ever ate
> was caught out of a trout stream. As an adult I am a little bit
> hesitant to
> eat carp due to all the heavy metal I have been warned about but I
> don't know
> how much of a real problem that is. Many fish that are considered
> trash fish are
> often labeled as bad to eat or somehow strong or oily. I have
> found this not
> to be true in many cases. Maybe eat a carp for the ecology isn't a
> bad idea, I
> eat shark whenever I can catch one, many people turn their noses
> up-in-shark
> because everyone seems to think they are not good to eat but many
> of them are
> very good to eat and, have no tiny bones, and are often easy to
> catch. I often
> catch squids on gold hooks-in-night from the local fishing piers
> and people
> are often amazed to find out I don't plan to use them as bait but
> really are
> going to eat them. For some reason the only fish supposed to be
> good to eat are
> the so-called sport fish which can vary greatly in palatability.
> Large mouth
> bass for instance are bland and not very tasty in my view but
> little bullheads
> skinned and cooked in corm meal are great. I guess it's sometimes
> just what
> you are used to.
> Moon
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