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Tackle ‘Invasive Species’ With a Pinch of Seasoning

by Madonna Watts D'Souza

Tackle ‘Invasive Species’ With a Pinch of Seasoning

December 30, 2020

'Invasive Species' can destroy local species - a growing concern for ecologists.

However, one solution is slowly gaining popularity: to catch them and eat them up!

If you are an Instagram mogul or an obsessed user, you must’ve come across many posts of people posing in a random field of flowers, mostly in the shades of yellow and orange. The pictures and flowers are indeed lovely, but those seemingly tender petals and plants are the reason for the destruction of the local species in that area.

Sounds shocking at first, right? But these plants are also one of the reasons why some species are being pushed to extinction.

'Terminator' Species of Plants

Invasive species have notoriously taken over the world. Now, what exactly are Invasive species? These are plant or animal species foreign to a region, but they will quickly establish, populate themselves, and dominate in that area due to their aggressive reproduction and destruction techniques.

This, however, destroys several local species and farm crops and thus has become a problem for several ecologists. No one likes them, but given the pace at which these species reproduce and behave, one has little idea on how to battle them. But these chefs do.

Salivating Cuisine of Invasive Species

To spice things up, these chefs spiced these invasive species up! Foodies from New England foodies have paired up with ecologists to create the Green Crab Cookbook, which utilizes mouth-watering recipes from Venice and Vietnam to attract people to eat “from problem to the plate.” They even took the efforts to deliver these invasive crabs to Chefs stuck at home for free!

An annual “invasivore” cook-off in Oregon takes place to curb the population of invasive species! The invasive-crayfish populating the Great Lakes have are now being boiled and eaten in the state of Oregon. It may not seem appetizing at first, in the right culinary atmosphere, expect some of the most sumptuous dishes ever. But the US is not alone in dealing with invasives.

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Thanh Thái is a family nurse practitioner living in coastal New Hampshire. When she’s not seeing patients, she can be found harvesting green crabs and developing recipes. Thanh runs the blog Green Crab Cafe

Geographical Connotations

The Paiche is an invasive fish that has terrorized the nation of Bolivia. Paiche are carnivorous. Hence they feast on other fishes. This had led to a decline in some of the nation’s favourite ones like surubí, bagre, and pintado. Some fishermen claim that these fishes have disappeared completely.

The Paiche, which swam into the nation through Peru, has now come under conservation-oriented chefs’ radar. Urban residents have also developed a taste for the Paiche on their platters. Even the UK has attempted to consume invasive species too. Although the “invasivore” (which means people who feast on invasive species), the movement has begun with little volunteers. From an ecological and conservationist perspective, this Gastronomy attack on invasive species does hold some truth.

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A fisherman with The Paiche

The Impact of Invasive Species

Invasive species are quite terrible to the endemic and natural land of different regions due to their aggressive reproduction and rampaging elimination through toxins and destruction. Nations like the US, New Zealand, Australia, Cuba, South Africa, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Canada have the highest number (excluding exterior territories) with the highest number of invasive species.

The authors of the research concluded- “Clear global patterns in the distributions of IAS (Invasive Alien Species) are determined, supporting arguments emphasizing the role of colonial history, economic development, and trade in driving the human‐mediated movement of species. Dominant pathways for species invasions are similar across different regions. Policy responses towards IAS show an increasing desire from the international community to act on species invasions.”

Current patterns suggest that Africa and Central Asia are priority areas for future IAS research and control. These species have sadly brought fragile and local species towards extinction. Thus, to curb this, if a world-wide consumption of invasives is done, it will significantly reduce their population. But this could even backfire, since if they turn out to taste better, then the demand for these species will rise.

invasive plant

Efforts Could Turn Into a Double-edged Sword

While efforts are being made to contain invasives by eating them after analyzing their suitability, it won’t be appetizing for a human to hear that their gravy has Swamp Rat pieces within it. Nevertheless, some species may sound incredibly mouth-watering, like the Asian Shore Crab and The Asian Tiger Shrimp curry!

However, if people develop a taste for the invasive species, the demand for it will rise. The rise will lead to the unwanted and unforgivable cultivation of these invasive species, thus increasing their population. Although this hasn’t happened yet, many people are afraid that this activism of eating the invasives to end their menace could turn into demanding biological mayhem.

Whatever your outtake is, it is essential to save the environment by reducing some destructive creatures’ population by gobbling them. What is an invasive dish you would want to try?

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