Carp facts for kids
The Carp is a fish that lives in fresh water, such as rivers and lakes. In Europe and Asia carp are loved as a fishing and eating fish. However, carp are a really big problem in countries such as the U.S. and Australia. They make the water dirty by causing the mud at the bottom to move and in these countries people hate them.
Various species of carp have been domesticated and reared as food fish across Europe and Asia for thousands of years. These various species appear to have been domesticated independently, as the various domesticated carp species are native to different parts of Eurasia. For example, the common carp, Cyprinus carpio, is originally from Central Europe. Several carp species (collectively known as Asian carp) were domesticated in East Asia. Carp that are originally from South Asia, for example catla (Gibelion catla), rohu (Labeo rohita) and mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus), are known as Indian carp. Their hardiness and adaptability have allowed domesticated species to be propagated all around the world.
Although the carp was an important aquatic food item, as more fish species have become readily available for the table, the importance of carp culture in Western Europe has become less important. Demand has declined, partly due to the appearance of more desirable table fish such as trout and salmon through intensive farming, and environmental constraints. However, fish production in ponds is still a major form of aquaculture in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Russian Federation, where most of the production comes from low or intermediate-intensity ponds. In Asia, the farming of carp continues to surpass the total amount of farmed fish volume of intensively sea-farmed species, such as salmon and tuna.
As ornamental fish
Carp, along with many of their cyprinid relatives, are popular ornamental aquarium and pond fish. The two most notable ornamental carps are goldfish and koi. Goldfish and koi have advantages over most other ornamental fishes, in that they are tolerant of cold (they can survive in water temperatures as low as 4°C), can survive at low oxygen levels, and can tolerate low water quality.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were originally domesticated from the Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio), a dark greyish-brown carp native to Asia. They were first bred for color in China over a thousand years ago. Due to selective breeding, goldfish have been developed into many distinct breeds, and are found in various colors, color patterns, forms and sizes far different from those of the original carp. Goldfish were kept as ornamental fish in China for hundreds of years before being introduced to Japan in the 15th century, and to Europe in the late 17th century.
Koi are a domesticated variety of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that have been selectively bred for color. The common carp was introduced from China to Japan, where selective breeding of the common carp in the 1820s in the Niigata region resulted in koi. In Japanese culture, koi are treated with affection, and seen as good luck. They are popular in other parts of the world as outdoor pond fish.
As sport fish
Izaak Walton said about carp in The Compleat Angler, "The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtle fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalised."
Carp are variable in terms of angling value.
- In Europe, even when not fished for food, they are eagerly sought by anglers, being considered highly prized coarse fish that are difficult to hook. The UK has a thriving carp angling market. It is the fastest growing angling market in the UK, and has spawned a number of specialised carp angling publications such as 'Carpology', 'advanced carp fishing', 'carpworld', 'TotalCarp' and karper, and many informative carp angling web sites, such as Carpfishing UK and Carpit Carp Anglers Bulgaria
- In the United States, carp are also classified as a rough fish, as well as damaging to naturalized exotic species, but with sporting qualities. Many states' departments of natural resources are beginning to view the carp as an angling fish instead of a maligned pest. Groups such as the Carp Anglers Group and American Carp Society promote the sport and work with fisheries departments to organize events to introduce and expose others to the unique opportunity the carp offers freshwater anglers.
- Bighead carp is enjoyed in many parts of the world, but it has not become a popular foodfish in North America. Acceptance there has been hindered in part by the name "carp", and its association with the common carp which is not a generally favored foodfish in North America. The flesh of the bighead carp is white and firm, different from that of the common carp, which is darker and richer. Bighead carp flesh does share one unfortunate similarity with common carp flesh – both have intramuscular bones within the filet. However, bighead carp captured from the wild in the United States tend to be much larger than common carp, so the intramuscular bones are also larger and thus less problematic.
- Common carp, breaded and fried, is part of traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Slovakia, Poland and in the Czech Republic. In pond based water agriculture it is treated as most prominent food fish.
- Crucian carp is considered the best-tasting pan fish in Poland. It is known as karaś, and is served traditionally with sour cream (karasie w śmietanie). In Russia, this particular species is called Золотой карась meaning "golden crucian", and is one of the fish used in a borscht recipe called borshch s karasej (Russian: Борщ с карасе́й)or borshch s karasyami Russian: Борщ с карася́ми).
- Mud carp, due to the low cost of production, is mainly consumed by the poor, locally; it is mostly sold alive, but can be dried and salted. The fish is sometimes canned or processed as fish cakes, fish balls, or dumplings. They can be found for retail sale within China.
- Chinese mud carp is an important food fish in Guangdong Province. It is also cultured in this area and Taiwan. Cantonese and Shunde cuisines often use this fish to make fish balls and dumplings. It can be used with douchi or Chinese fermented black beans in a dish called fried dace with salted black beans. It can be served cooked with vegetables such as Chinese cabbage.
List of carp-based dishes
- Fisherman's soup
- Masgouf, a popular Iraqi dish consisting of seasoned, grilled carp
- Gefilte fish, an Ashkenazi Jewish dish made from a poached mixture of ground deboned fish, primarily carp, whitefish, and pike
Fried carp from Franconia, Germany
Images for kids
Goldfish and other carp from Fish Swimming Amid Falling Flowers, a Song dynasty painting by Liu Cai (c. 1080–1120)
Carp Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.