While the fish technically originated in Asia, there is no such species asan Asian carp. A few pet food companies have avoided confusion by focusing onsilver carp in their dog food.

Asian carp literally jump into headlines occasionally after one of the fishleaps from the water and slaps a boater, like a Monty Python sketch escapedinto the wild. The real problem with Asian carp comes from the competitionthey present to native freshwater fish and the negative effects that has onfisheries. However, the fish are eaten regularly in their home ranges, andvarious efforts in the United States have found ways to put the fish onpeople’s plates. Several pet food and treat companies now use Asian carp informulations. This helps conservation efforts by creating an economicincentive for harvesting the Asian carp.

While those fish technically originated in Asia, there is no such species asan Asian carp. Instead, Asian carp refers to several different fish: bigheadcarp ( Hypophthalmichthys nobilis ), black carp ( Mylopharyngodon piceus )grass carp ( Ctenopharyngodon Idella ) and silver carp ( H. molitrix).Only silver and bighead regularly jump, but all of them are problems for theenvironment, but in somewhat different ways. In Fisheries Magazine,conservation professionals pointed out that lumping all these fish into oneterm causes problems. It fails to acknowledge cultural and ecologicaldifferences among the fish, as well as confounding communications both to thepublic and when exporting to China, or otherwise translating the fish’s nameto Chinese.

A few pet food companies have avoided the confusion by focusing on silver carpin their dog food. For example, Annamaet Re-Juvenate Senior Formula usessilver carp specifically. On World Oceans Day, June 8, Chippin launched SilverCarp Daily Food, branching out from previous product made with cricket andspirulina.

“We are committed to science-backed nutrition and did a deep dive on thenutrition quality of silver carp,” Haley Russell, co-founder and CEO ofChippin told Petfood Industry in an email. “By sourcing directly one speciesof fish, we could build more consistency in our product and ensure we couldtake a research-driven approach to crafting our food.

“We do think that the group of fish collectively called ‘Asian carp’ should berenamed. We know Chilean sea bass grew in popularity after a name change, andwe would be enthusiastic to see how that could help support a broader marketof these fish for pets and people domestically.”

Along with environmental benefits, silver carp provide a complete and highlydigestible protein, that includes all 10 essential amino acids for dogs, alongwith omega-3 fatty acids, she said. For dogs with allergies or sensitivedigestion, silver carp can be an alternative protein.

Asian carp as novel pet food ingredient

Asian carp species eat plankton needed by other fish, procreate prolificallyand endanger boaters by leaping from the water. After escaping and beingreleased into American waterways in the 1960s and ’70s, Asian carp havereduced the profitability of many freshwater fisheries in the US Midwest andSouth. Now these unholy mackerel threaten the billion-dollar fishery of theGreat Lakes. Expensive barriers and eradication programs have not solved theproblem.

Back home in China, chefs prize the fish, yet Asian carp meat is largelyunused in the US. Meanwhile, this wasted resource lays waste to aquaticecosystems. The most common Asian carp species, silver and bighead, eat byfiltering tiny plants and animals from the water, as whales do. Since they eatlow on the food chain, toxins don’t build up in their meat, or bioaccumulate,as much as in predatory fish. Along with food safety and nutrition, Asian carpcan address other health issues.

Animal health and native ecosystems benefit from the use of Asian carp in pettreats; at the same time it helps struggling American fishermen make a living.Federal regulations prevent fishermen from throwing the invasive carp backinto rivers, although nets bring in tons of the fish inadvertently. Thosemountains of fish are worth little cash at processors, if the facility willbuy them at all.

Source: Tim Wall Petfood Industry

Previous Temporary changes to import certificate requirements for importedanimals, biological and animal-based goods

Next New DNA test to transform wild fish population management