COLUMBIA, Mo. – Fish cleaning and cooking may not be an intuitive skill, but it’s easy to learn. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding a fish cleaning and cooking demonstration of Asian Carp and catfish from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 4 at the North Village Farmers and Artisans Market in Columbia.
Demonstrations will take place at the top of the hour, every hour. MDC staff will be available to answer questions and samples of the fish will be available for the crowd to taste.
“This is a great opportunity for people who have never had the opportunity to clean a fish, or aren’t comfortable cleaning one, to see how easy it really is,” said MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Brian Flowers. “There is something really rewarding about catching a fish locally then feeding your friends and family.”
Flowers said the trick to cleaning a fish is getting to know its internal structure.
“There are specific ways to clean different species of fish. For example, Asian carp have a very different bone structure than many of our native fish,” he said.
Though many Missourians might not think about Asian Carp as a meal, Flowers said these types of demonstrations are a great way to inform people of how delicious this fish can be. Plus it helps gain awareness for the invasive Asian carp.
Asian carp—also known as black, silver, and bighead carp— populations are growing in many of Missouri’s large rivers and are competing with some native fish for food. Both silver and bighead carp are plankton feeders and they deplete food used by native sport fishes such as bass and crappie when they are young or paddlefish, which feeds on plankton through its entire life cycle.
Flowers said Missourians can help reduce the numbers of Asian carp by harvesting them. Because they are an invasive species, there’s no limit to how many anglers can keep.
“Sometimes people just need to try Asian carp,” Flowers said. “As a fish, it is good. It has a very white and flaky meat and some even prefer it over other fish like tilapia or catfish.”
With almost a million fishing permits sold in the state annually, it’s obvious that fish rank high in the hearts and kitchens of many Missourians. Fishing is something anyone can do and it is a great way to discover nature as a family.
The Farmers and Artisans Market is located at 126 North 10, at the Wabash bus station lot in Columbia.
For more information about Asian carp, including control and how to clean, visit mdc.mo.gov.