Every year, invasive species cost the United States over $120 billion, and more than $1.4 trillion worldwide, with the annual cost of impact and control efforts equaling 5% of the world’s economy. They are among the top threats to habitats, contributing directly to the decline of more than 40% of the threatened and endangered species in the US, with over 100 million acres suffering from invasive plant infestations.
Invasive plants and animals colonize aggressively, readily out-competing other members of ecosystems and are difficult to eradicate. When an invasive plant nor animal becomes established in an area, biodiversity decreases and habitat structure is altered often causing unwanted changes in the functionality of the ecosystem.
We must create a solution that meets basic human needs and ensures humankind does not pay a hefty price. In the US, 1 in 5 children suffer from hunger, over 600,000 people are homeless and without proper nutrition, and countless communities are at risk. Yet, we have a bounty of wild natural nutrition rich resources in invasive species that is simply being wasted.
Importantly, some species that were once a cause for universal conservation have become so overabundant in certain regions that they are now considered to be a major problem.
Take the Snow Goose, for example. The massive rise in numbers of Snow Geese in the past couple of decades has resulted in various states implementing special ‘conservation orders’ designed to control the population by setting goals for the numbers of birds to be harvested.
Check out this video featuring Dr. Quinton Phelps, Fisheries Biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, providing helpful tips on filleting Asian carp.
“I foresee harvesting Asian carp as one way to we can knock down the population and at the same time, ensure the sustainability of the native species for future generations to enjoy – this is my passion. I don’t want to see our natural resources die.
A lot of people look at the Asian carp issue and say there is nothing that we can do about. I say let’s look in history books and look at some of the animal populations in the past. Let’s look out how we have impacted species through harvesting. I believe Asian carp could be harvested to a point where their impact can be minimized.
I know that this fish is delicious to eat. We have provided seminars on how to prepare fish for more than 25,000 people. 95% love it. The other 5% of the crowd won’t try it because it is carp, and they have preconceived notions about carp. But kids have no preconceived notion, and they love it!”