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Back Garden Carp: Sustainable Food of the Future

UK - Although carp is loved in Eastern Europe in Britain it is rarely served, but all that could change with the arrival of the very first organic carp raised and harvested on a former trout farm in Devon.

The market for carp is increasing annually, fuelled mainly by Eastern European immigrants. Last year, Waitrose, which sells the fish in its stores at Christmas, announced a 50 per cent increase in sales on the previous year.

Jimmie Hepburn, a former salmon farmer and keen ecologist, and his wife Penny took over a run-down fish farm in the UK two years ago, reports Vicky Liddell for The Telegraph. They believe that carp - fast-growing, omnivorous fish - are a sustainable answer to the world's increasing demand for seafood.

Unlike trout and salmon, which require processed pellets made from wild fish, carp are virtually self-sufficient. Neither do they need huge quantities of fresh water.

Apart from a daily helping of homegrown mealworms, they browse the muddy depths where a carefully managed pond ecology nurtured by cow manure provides for all their needs. "Carp are a bit like chickens," Hepburn told The Telegraph.

"They eat anything." They will also survive in a wide range of habitats. By the time they are harvested at about three years old, they will weigh around 1lb and will be a manageable plate-size.

According to The Telegraph, the Hepburns are hoping to spread their carp ideas and expertise to Britain's two million garden pond-owners, encouraging them to grow their own fish for the table.