Although the asian carp is an invasive species of fish in the United States, that could potentially destroy the ecosystem of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes, Bloomberg reports that it’s actually a business opportunity for somone:
Sometimes, Chinese netizens pay more attention to a U.S. news story than Americans do. President Barack Obama’s Feb. 23 decision to allocate $51.5 million to eradicate an invasive species known as the Asian carp is a prime example.
Outside of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, news of this carp-control strategy barely registered with the U.S. public.
American catfish farmers first imported four species of Asian carp in the 1970s. Known to be voracious eaters, they were set loose in catfish pens with the hope that they’d eat the algae — which they did. But in the 1980s, floods washed over these contained pens, allowing the carp to enter the Mississippi River where — for three decades — they’ve been eating their way up American watersheds, disrupting every ecosystem in their path.
But the worst of this plague may be yet to come: Recently, Asian carp has been caught close to the Great Lakes, causing White House-level concern that the lakes’ delicate ecosystems could be forever altered by these slow-moving bottom feeders. So regional scientists and policymakers are desperately seeking a means of stopping the Asian carp’s American expansion.
To understand why Chinese netizens have taken such an interest in the story, it’s absolutely essential to know that the most popular dinner-table fish in seafood-crazy China is carp, bar none. Thus, news of America’s carp problem doesn’t set off alarm — it makes Chinese mouths water. Add the fact that Chinese covet wild carp — an expensive treat compared to cheaper, more common farmed carp — and poetry ensues.