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Perception of Asian carp as a possible food source among Missouri anglers

Morgan, Mark, Ho, Yun
Human dimensions of wildlife 2018 v.23 no.5 pp. 491-498
Americans (United States), Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, biological control, carp, education programs, fishermen, humans, marketing, public opinion, questionnaires, taste, water quality, watersheds, China, Great Lakes, Mississippi River, Missouri
Silver and bighead carps were imported from China to the United States in the 1970s as a biological control mechanism for improving water quality. After escaping captivity, both species spread into the Mississippi River Basin and now threaten to enter the Great Lakes. Human consumption is one solution, but many Americans believe that carp is unsavory. A random sample of 2,000 licensed anglers in Missouri was asked to complete a mail-back questionnaire about Asian carp, yielding a 27% response rate (n = 465). Results indicated that knowledge and perception about carp were poor, and food neophobia (fear of new foods) scores were above average. Less than 15% of respondents had eaten carp, but nearly 53% were willing to try. Marketing should focus on the benefits of consumption while downplaying any possible concerns. Although education programs are worthwhile, taste might be more influential to change public attitudes toward Asian carp.