An Illinois fishing company is helping to tackle the Asian carp invasion by marketing them as a delicious culinary treat to food companies in China.
Big River Fish Company, based in Pearl, Illinois, decided that instead of lamenting the way that Asian carp were taking over Great Lakes fishing areas, they would turn it into a profitable business opportunity.
Achieving sizes of up to 4-feet in length and 100 pounds each, carp destroy ecosystems by gorging themselves, and starving out other species.
Ross Harano, the international marketing director for Big River Fish Co., said that by marketing the fish as “wild” and “unpolluted” they’ve been able to attract attention of high-end restaurants looking to augment their fish selection.
Of course, the Great Lakes are home to their fair share of pollution, but they’re relatively clean when compared to Chinese waters.
In June, the Associated Press reported that, for the first time ever, a 20-pound bighead carp was caught by a fisherman in Illinois’s Lake Calumet, on the South Side of Chicago–beyond the electric fences meant to keep them out, and only six miles from Lake Michigan.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation recently pledged $500,000 to find environmental solutions to prevent this ravenous species from threatening the Great Lakes’ ecosystem and jeopardizing the region’s $7 billion annual sports fishing industry.
The Big River Fish Company recently received $2 million in federal funding to expand its processing plant after securing a contract with a company in China for 30 million pounds of carp meat (NPR).
Image Credit: Flickr - radcarper