Saturday, 29 December 2012

For every tree a carp

Viewer warning -  this post contains images of dead fish. If this is likely to offend, turn away now.

We have carp - enormous European carp. They cruise our stream and have replaced trout and native fish, muddied up the stream and... I could carp on about how bad they are for Australian streams but wont, instead I will tell you of my plans for making them more environmentally friendly. They are:

1. For every tree a carp, and
2. Gallons of home-made fish emulsion

However, re-purposing carp starts with catching them - this is where fishing-experienced relatives are vital. There is a method that needs to be followed. First, invite relatives handy with hook, sinker and swivel to your property. Then provide them with a picnic and transportation to fishing spot and, let them rip.

In short order three things are achieved - one more carp is removed from our waterways, the host is delighted with free fertiliser for her garden and guest fishing-handy visiting relative has an easy catch -  woah - such holiday fun!

An afternoon of fishing yielded 4 large carp. With respect, they were dispatched very promptly.

Into the esky the carp went and they were transported home with plans for fish emulsion. I sourced a recipe and decided the next day to head to the local little smoke for ingredients -  sawdust, Epsom salts and molasses. Trouble is that, try as I might, the only ingredient that was available was the Epsom salts. Defeated I returned home - what to do now?

So in the intervening period of course,  the carp were still sitting in the esky... and it was over 30c. I think you can smell the problem from wherever you are?

Early the next morning, while it was still cool and the sun was low I decided to get value from the haul of carp even if I could not make fish emulsion so I decided to bury them where I wanted to plant some fruit trees. I marked their graves with a stake and will wait a while while they turn into something a plant might enjoy. I now have 4 planting spaces for fruit trees marked out.

In the meantime we are still trying to de-carp the esky!

Lessons learnt:
  1. Carp are pretty easy to catch
  2. Carp provide excellent holiday entertainment for visiting fishing folk
  3. Carp are big
  4. Never leave carp in an anything you ever want to use again
  5. Only plan to make fish emulsion when you have the ingredients
  6. If you don't have the ingredients for fish emulsion - bury the carp as soon as possible and somewhere useful for future fertilising
How long do you think I should wait before I plant trees in the carpy grave?

Have you ever made fish emulsion? Ever used your fish scraps as fertiliser? Have any other handy ways to re-purpose invading species (plant or animal) making them more environmentally friendly?


  1. When my partner was a child he and his father where in a fishing club they often caught lots of carp. They would bury them under the fruit trees he tells me that if the carp are buried whole they take up to a full year to decompose if chopped or minced up they take alot less time. The trees would always fruit heavily even occasionally break the branches. Hope your esky has recovered.

    1. Excellent, I am glad to see that I am not completely off the mark! Fruiting heavily - now that's encouragement. Cant wait to get the trees into the ground and go carp fishing again.

  2. I think I need some carp for my plum trees! :)

    I'm obviously at that age when I keep harking back to 'when I was young' so here I go again...

    My dad did his bit and caught carp which were prolific in the local SEC (State Electricity Commission) storage dam. What an environmental disaster was caused by whoever the idiot was who released them in the first place. Anyway, being European himself and having gone through the frugal war years - waste not want not and all that - we'd have carp swimming in the bathtub for days to clear them of their muddy taste. Eerrkk.

    1. I can see this happening. When we told one of our dear Italian friends about the carp in the creek he was keen to eat them too. Not sure I like the idea of them in the bathtub!

  3. And here I was thinking that fish emulsion would just involve immersing ground up fish in water - perhaps that jar of molasses sitting at the back of mums cupboard has a use after all....

    1. I too thought it that simple - and I suppose it could be! I consulted many recipes on line and they all seem to suggest the sawdust ans epsom salts but not all suggest the molasses. These extras are supposed to add added minerals to the mix. Anyway, when I get making it I will post on it, probably with a peg on my nose.

  4. Maybe its worth re-purposing that esky. We had one that ended up with rotten food in it which stank no matter how many times it was scrubbed out and aired... in the end we just gave up and got a new one. Good luck with your fishy adventures.

    1. I am terribly afraid you might be right. We have washed it a few times already and , its getting better, but... Yesterday I resorted to a 'Lush' solution. You know that woman who does cleaning solutions with bicarb and lemon juice etc? I used her suggestion for taking the stink out of stinky fridges - bicarb and vanilla essence. Apparently the bicarb soaks up the smells. Will see how it goes.

    2. Trout are an introduced species also, should probably kill them too if you catch one.

    3. Carp have been in that stream for many decades. Environmental conditions have changed the water colour and lack of natives not the carp. Stop blaming them for mankinds mistakes as has been done for so long now.



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