The Midwest’s Asian carp problem may be a solution for world hunger


FENTON, Mo. – The invasive Asian carp have long been a problem in the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois rivers. A University of Missouri researcher wants to turn the fish problem into a fish powder.

“We’ve got needy people around the world dying of malnutrition every day,” said Mark Morgan, associate professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources. “Half the women of reproduction age in Haiti have anemia. I’ve got a product that has a lot of protein in it and a huge amount of iron. So, why not? It’s like: give me lemons, we’ll make lemonade.”

Morgan and his team of researchers have hit upon a solution to the predicament of the invasive Asian carp hitting river streams – pulverize them.

“There’s a certain way we can pulverize the fish into a fine powder and once we do that, it’s ideal,” Morgan said. “It doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing. We can vacuum pack it and it has a long shelf life. Ot’s readily available. So, what we’re trying to do is look at different food options. I made the fish and prepared it in different ways. I put it in chili and tacos and burrito. I can disguise it in such a way you wouldn’t know it existed. So, let me put it that way: there’s ways to make it very tasty.”

And for those that say carp is a load of crappie, Morgan has performed the taste test himself and approves. He swears by the invasive swimmers.

“The powder can be a food supplement,” he said. “Many Far Eastern countries add fish powder or fish flakes or sometimes fish floss. It can be sprinkled on existing food sources like rice and beans. But then it also could be taken as a pill or capsule as a food nutrition supplement, not necessarily as the food itself.”

Morgan is in the process of seeking more funding and expanding his idea to feed those in need worldwide.

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