Common carp European carp is a freshwater fish species native to Europe and Asia. It is also known as the common carp fish. It naturally inhabits the waters of lakes and larger rivers. Nowadays the fish lives all over the world, but native wild species are the most valuable. Due to its destructive nature, common carp is often considered invasive species and has been included in the list of 100 worst invasive species. The fish has been marked as the third most introduced species in the world. It can be found in every country, apart from the poles.
The fish was already known as a farmed species back in Ancient times. Common carp was a food source for Romans. Common carp were found in the inland delta of the Danube River almost 2000 years ago. The species consists of two subspecies – European and Asian, both of them have been domesticated. Common carp were domesticated between the 13th and 16th centuries as food by European monks. By the 12th century, the species had already reached the Rhine delta.
Common carp is characterized by its heavy body and characteristic barbels on either side of the mouth. It is generally brassy yellow or green, gold and brown, or rarely silvery. Their bottom part is usually brighter, most often yellowish white. Both anal and dorsal fins are heavy toothed. Common carp is a fish of a large size. The wild species are usually thinner than the domesticated ones. The size of the fish depends on the space and food. The largest species can get up to 1.2 meters long and weigh up to 45 kg.
It is commonly used as a source of food and is quite popular in Asian and European varieties of cuisine. Common carp is also used for sport fishing and amateur fishing. The fish is an oily fish what makes it a great source of essential acids, vitamins (especially vitamins A, E, and D) as well as minerals and proteins. Just like other oily fish, carp is a great source of omega-3 acids that prevent cognitive decline, depression, dementia, and overall improve brain functioning. Carp meat contains large amounts of phosphorus, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iodine, selenium, and calcium.
This species is the third most important fish for the world’s aquaculture. The largest production of these species takes place in Poland, Hungary, Germany, Croatia, and the Czech Republic. The overall production of the common carp covers almost 4.4 million tons of the total world’s fish production. It is roughly 3.4% of the total fish production.