Can You Eat Koi Fish?
You have probably seen these beautiful fish at one time or another in your life. They can be found in a variety of settings, from private ponds to restaurant gardens, and are loved by everyone.
However, koi can be caught by anglers, as they are often released into the wild.
This naturally raises the question: “Can you eat Koi fish?”
Yes, it is. However, it is up for debate whether you should.
Koi is a Japanese name that derives its name from the Chinese pronunciation of the fish’s names in Chinese. These decorative fish, which have beautiful color patterns due to centuries of selective culling, are highly prized by collectors around the globe, but particularly in China and Japan.
These patterns and colors are only superficial. Koi are just Amur carps beneath the skin.
Amur carps are their natural color.
Many koi fry will not have the unique patterns they love when they hatch. In captivity, the breeder will only keep the koi with the desired pattern and color.
This process has been repeated for centuries, increasing the chances of getting koi form carp. However, if the breeders stopped this process, the koi would lose their color in just a few generations.
Koi are not Goldfish
It is possible that you have heard that Koi are simply overgrown goldfish. But that is not the truth. The Carassius aurantus goldfish is part of the Cyprinidae family, but it’s not the same species or genus. This makes them cousins–but not the same species.
Koi Biology: Temperature, Oxygen and Diet
Koi, like all carp, are bottom-feeding omnivores. They can and will find prey items, such as crawfish and insects. These fish have easy access to aquatic grasses, which provide them with a broad diet and a comfortable lifestyle where predators don’t exist.
They can tolerate low oxygen levels well and are able to dominate the food chain even in stagnant ponds, where other species cannot breathe.
They can even take in air from the surface, which gives them an advantage over other fish.
Koi prefer temperatures between 59-77 degrees F. Their immune system begins to fail below 50 degrees F, making them more vulnerable to parasitic infections and disease. They need deep ponds in order to find water that will keep them warm through the winter.
However, carp can survive without ice for as long as there is water.
This makes koi, like other carp species, an “ideal” invasive species. It can quickly push native fish out to the margins.
Koi are an Invasive species
As lucky anglers will tell you, you might be familiar with koi in immaculately maintained ponds. However, this is not the only place they can be found.
Koi have been released in the wild in many locations in the United States. They are now an invasive species that is flourishing in certain areas.
This huge koi will please carp anglers!
This may be a delight for carp anglers as the brightly colored koi are a welcome change from the usual dull greens and golds of common carp. Wildlife biologists and conservators worry about the Amur carp’s invading new territory. This is due to its large menu, robustness and ability to cause waterways to turbidity increases. As recently as 2013, Senator Amy Klobuchar tried to pass legislation to eradicate the Amur carp from the upper Mississippi River. She stated that the “Asian carp” not only poses a threat to Minnesota’s environment but also threatens the state’s recreation and fishing industries, which play a crucial role in the state economy. This legislation will allow the state to take steps to prevent the spread of these invasive species to our rivers and lakes.
The American Carp Society is trying to change anglers attitudes towards the “queen” of the river. They encourage people to treat carp of any species as game fish and to give them respect.
This is a great catch for carp anglers.
They promote catch and release. However, there is strong support for keeping carp in order to lessen their negative impact.
Koi and other Carp are good to eat
You should be aware that koi are edible, but their flesh can have a muddy taste like other carp members. This can be attributed to the way they eat and the stagnant water that they live in. However, it is no different from catfish in this respect.
Looking for tips on catching carp and koi? Check out our carp fishing tips!
When viewed in this light, it is clear that koi can make an excellent meal. And across Europe, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without carp!
Carp is a Christmas special in Europe!
Is it possible to eat koi? Yes! It’s probably a good idea to remove the fish from the water, at least in those areas most affected by their invasion.