Carp Guide

By: Robert W. Benjamin
One of the most common anglers' catches is the carp, a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, counting in America with many devoted enthusiasts. The best-known species of carp in North America is the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), although the history of this fish comes from Europe.

In the Middle Ages, carp were spread by monks for food throughout the Old Continent; from there this tradition was exported worldwide in the 15th century, although the popularity of carp remained intact until the present. In Europe, carp have been the most popular fish over the last 20 years, becoming a billion-dollar industry within the extremely competitive fishing tackle market.

In the United States, it was initially considered just one of the exotic species not native to North America, arriving just by accident. In fact, it is said that actual carp are descended from fish illegally introduced by unauthorized persons. The fact is that before the 20th century native North American fish were viewed as vital natural resources, harvested commercially by the millions of pounds.

Harvesting declined stocks of river and lake fishes, the population was expanding, and the U.S. Congress appointed the US Fish Commission to oversee the nation's fisheries interests, during 1871, beginning the introduction of carp in America.

Carp promised a great return in limited waters, and the commission imported 345 carp from German aqua-culturists.

Commercial production of carp began in the 1900s, and the decade after the World War II, annual carp catches reached 36 million pounds. Actually, carp production continues but for anglers carp is just a sport fish, not only in the United States, but also in most nations around the world, while many restaurants, hotels and resorts keep serving carp on the menu.

However, in a few regions carp are considered a pest that must be killed, whether sport or not, because of their attributes allowing them to be an invasive species on new ecosystems, with serious negative effects for both native fauna and the local ecosystem. Commercially speaking, this was beneficial from the economy point of view.

Carp were shipped by rail to markets during many decades serving as an important food source for the growing population, and prestigious restaurants, like the Waldorf and Astoria, popularized dishes such as "Carp in Rhine Wine Sauce". After the war and with the advent of refrigeration, carp popularity took new highs.

Carp are considered signs of good fortune in Asian countries; they are part of the traditional Christmas Eve dishes in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. They are also a competitive prize for international anglers looking for fun trying to catch the biggest because, contrary to other countries, they are not considered to be good for eating in North America.

There are a large number of carp types, among the most popular are Carp bream (Abramis brama), Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), Carnatic carp (Barbodes carnaticus), Crucian carp (Carassius carassius), Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio) and the Goldfish (Carassius auratus). There is a website that has great information on most species of freshwater fish. It has details that pertain to each species of fish such as habitat, spawning, eating habits, the best lures and baits and more, the website is called: Fishing Stringer, and can be found at this http://www.fishingstringer.com

By Robert W. BenjaminCopyright ? 2007 You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter, or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

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