by Alina Rylko
THE solution to our carp problem is simple: eat it.
Experts argue the freshwater fish is nutritious, full of protein and calcium, and, as attendees to The Lismore River Festival and Carp Muster found out on Saturday, it actually tastes pretty good.
Residents got to test-taste chef-prepared carp at Riverside Park as part of the inaugural event which promotes the environmental pest as a tasty addition to any menu.
Chef Daniel Lange fried carp slithers in cracked pepper, paprika and garlic, serving them on a banana leaf with grilled vegetables.
"Make sure that once you've caught it you put it on a slurry, so that's ice and water, and that will stop it from releasing any histamines causing it to be stressed, and releasing mud into the fish itself.
"From there you fillet it, remove the bones, the bloodline, and just keep it pretty simple."
Mr Lange suggested carp was good in fish cakes, fish kebabs, with hot chips, and if you can't catch it locally you can request it from Northern Rivers Seafood.
Tasting carp for the first time, Lismore's Venita Sieveking said it was "delicious" and she would buy local carp if it was readily available.
Lismore City councillor Vanessa Elkins said carp is in the Wilsons, Upper Wilson and Richmond Rivers and is most plentiful in Cobaki and any sugar cane drains.
"The problem is the modified catchments, the loss of native vegetation through clearing and dirty water," Ms Elkins said.
"Carp thrives in those conditions so if we fix that problemnative fish will come back."
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce supports carp culls, giving a speech in 2016 calling for the "disgusting mud-sucking creatures" to be electrocuted and given herpes.
The $15 million Federal Government project dubbed 'carpegeddon' is expected to kill off carp in 2019.
It's not a move Ms Elkins supports.
"I think it's totally wrong that we're spending a lot of money developing this idea when in Europe they're spending millions of dollars keeping (herpes) out," she said.
"By introducing the virus, which will knock out say 90% of the fish, we're going to be left with 10% of population that are immune and then they will just breed up."