Go on the offense against Asian carp
I was pleased to read the article, "Asian carp as quality cuisine: Illinois River fisherman see markets." Up to now, natural resource officials have bemoaned the Asian carp threat and hunkered down defensively spending lots of taxpayer money on electric fences, which may not even work.
Economic markets are one of the most powerful forces on Earth and by them humans have already put some species to extinction and have nearly wiped out a number of other species if not for government enforced protected status. Unleashing the economic markets on the Asian carp puts us on the offensive.
Officials in charge of Illinois' natural resources should seek to procure substantial cash prizes and announce a contest to attract universities, entrepreneurs, and corporations. They should set criteria for the selection of winners in a few categories, for example: 1. Most efficient commercial fishing method, 2. Most efficient meat processing method, 3. Best process for long-term storage for export to other countries, 4. Best restaurant menu for Asian carp, and 5. Most economical alternative uses for Asian carp.
Already, for category one, I can foresee a boat with a large net-scoop on its bow and a sonar generator that causes the carp to leap, as they are known to do, right into the scoop. For category five, I see no reason why Asian carp could not be used as a pet food additive or a fertilizer ingredient.
Nothing can spur human creativity and inventiveness better than an economic incentive. Once we accomplish that, instead of Asian carp being a threat, we might come to see them as a valuable natural resource.
Brian Van Dine