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Micah Leinbach

Got Invasives? Eat them. - 0 views

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    This article highlights the efforts to make Asian Carp, the next big threat to the Great Lakes (and the multi-million dollar fishing and tourism industries there) the next big food hit (or at least big enough to get people to fish them out). After all, as one expert says, "there's a worldwide need for cheap protein, and I think it's one of those things that fit the bill."

    But I have to say, I'm a little concerned. One, I know this is not a new strategy - people tried to turn garlic mustard into the next major salad ingredient, without much luck. But I think it could end up creating even greater threats in the long run.

    For example, if the idea is to get rid of the fish, it isn't a sustainable model for a business to follow. Why build a plant for a fish we're trying to get rid of? When the plants are built, the question changes: why get rid of the fish? In Darwin's Nightmare we saw how an invasive fish became a boon and blessing to the local economy. The Midwest is different, but some of the same forces are at play.

    Second, in my eyes the most legitimate argument against invasive, non-native species is that they don't provide ecosystem function. The ecosystem concept is rooted in relationships that help carry out nutrient/energy flow, etc... and these species don't really relate to others. By giving them a functional role as a food source, we give them a little more function to a species we really care about - us. Again, the plan to actually get rid of them may backfire as their benefits appear to outweigh their costs.

    The question does remain, is that a bad thing?
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