Whether it’s raccoon-size rodents called nutria using massive chompers to clear-cut Louisiana marshes into mud flats or shrubby Japanese knotweed smothering local flora up and down the East Coast, there are thousands of examples with people thoughtlessly introducing a species into a new environment, then battling to bring it under control. Invasives have cost the world an estimated $1.3 trillion by ruining agricultural yields, undermining tourism, and hurting public health over the past half century. Even worse, these outlaws are responsible for roughly a third of extinctions over the past 500 years, including, in 2021, the loss of the Maui ʻākepa bird and a Hawaiian variety of flowering mint. There are now 4,300 nonnative types of wildlife in the United States destructive enough for conservationists to label them as invasive.
The bold idea to eat them out of existence occurred to conservation biologist Joe Roman 20 years ago, when he developed the concept of invasivorism. Back then, it was considered more a topic for quirky cocktail conversation than a serious scientific discussion. Over time, however, Roman, based at the University of Vermont, has watched the stars align, with research and chefs like Paine advancing the practice, and individuals in general taking an interest in the ecological consequences of their gustatory habits.https://www.saveur.com/food/eating-invasive-species/