Diverse Uses for Carp

Whether caught by a lone angler or drawn up in a many-thousand pound catch by a commercial operation, carp can been utilized in a surprising number of ways.

As Art!
For centuries, Japanese anglers have made ink prints of their catches with "gyotaku," the art of fish rubbing. The prominent scales and wide body of the carp create particularly distinct works, and are favored by the Gyotaku masters.

As Fashion!
With their sturdy flesh and prominent, regular scale pattern, carp can be tanned into an exceptional leather that has graced the occasional skirt and handbag of the international houses of high fashion.

As Food and Fertilizer!
Millions of pounds of carp are eaten by Americans annually -- some caught and prepared streamside, some smoked or pickled and sold at local fish markets, and still more processed for specialized products such as gefilte fish. High in protein and calcium, and low in fat, processed carp is also widely utilized as a protein fill in both human and pet foods, as well as assorted fertilizers.

The day may in fact be coming when the disdained common carp finally fulfills its century-old promise to become the foodstuff of the nation. A 1994 study by the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, for example, found that over 60% of people tested preferred the taste of canned water-packed carp to that of similarly processed white meat tuna.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

Contact Us