Making Carp Even Bigger With Bio-technology

The University of Agricultural Sciences at Bangalore India recently reported development of a sterile carp that grows 47% faster, under aquaculture conditions, than its wild equivalent. The sterile carp, named "Chakri", was created through biotechnology intervention at the fingerling stage. As reported in the Deccan Herald: "Hitherto, the problem with common carp rearing was that these fishes were prolific breeders, offsetting the stocking density of the culture pond, resulting in a production of undersized fish of very low market value". "After 24 years of thorough research, a technology has been developed to induce sterility in a common carp to overcome the problem of uncontrolled reproduction in culture ponds," said Dr G P Satyanarayana Rao, Professor of Fisheries at UAS."

Wow... a quarter century of work to make the common carp grow faster. What a remarkable illustration of different cultural preferences. In the US, the common carp, which originates from Europe, is regarded as a foreign invader and a destroyer of aquatic ecosystems. Its about the last thing anyone would want to grow faster.

Once carp invade a stream or pond aquatic plants disappear and water is completely muddied from the carps' constant feeding and roiling. Because carp ingest bottom muds and debris directly, the carp's introduction to a polluted watershed means historically deposited heavy metals and other bio-accululative substances are ingested in high amount. Ever wonder how farm-raised fish sold in US markets could get contaminated with bioaccumulative pollutants? One possible way is for wild carp and other rough fish to be processed into "fish meal" to be sold as fish food for use in aquaculture.

The high potential for bottom feeders to bioccumulate does not change just because a fish is sterile. Hopefully, Chakri's progenitors realize that it should be stocked in unpolluted ponds.

As for edibility of carp, here's a favorite recipe passed along from a friend who grew up in a family of commercial carp fishers. It involves recycling a broken or abandoned refrigerator: something to bring out the TreeHugger interest in carp.

First, catch a nice big one like this.


Get that old fridge moved out back behind the garage. Then remove the compressor unit without releasing any CFC's. The compressor will have to be sent out with the trash on a special pickup day or delivered to a special hazardous materials center.

Next, cut a 4-inch hole in the top for installation of a short length of dryer vent pipe pipe to serve as a flue.

Clean up the inside and scrub the wire shelf racks.

Cut another hole about 10 inches square in the middle bottom of the interior.

Where the compressor unit was is your fire box. An old hibachi or small charcoal grill can be put in later to hold the charcoal and wet wood.

Filet the dorsal area of the carp, leaving the fatty ventral meat on the ribs behind, and soak the skinned filets overnight in a strong brine and brown sugar mixture. Soak several small logs or chunks of applewood overnight in a separate pail of water.

Next day, rinse the filets several times in fresh water and hang them using bits of bent wire...coathanger segments will do nicely...from the refrigerator shelves that you re-install from the top down, as you hang the meat.

Light a charcoal fire in the grill base and, once it's going well, put on a few of the wet wood pieces and slide it into the fire box. Then put some foil on the flue top, leaving only a small opening to damp down the fire and keep it cool enough to prevent "cooking". Some use an oven thermometer to keep the inside temperature at around 136 degrees F. You'll have to check the fire and flue opening hourly to keep a balance.

Afer about 8 to 12 hours have passed and the carp is nicely smoked, put out the fire with a bit of water. A hand sprayer works best. Then, throw out the meat and eat the remaining charcoal which has been permeated with the drippings.