New Company Sells Invasive Carp Back To Asia As Food

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).

[Source: NPR]

Image Credit: Flickr - radcarper


colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

big stamp. "return to sender".

David N.
David N7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Andrew D.
Andrew D.7 years ago

Exporting carp to China vs. importing crap from China. Congrats & good going!

Ellen W.
Ellen W.7 years ago

Does 30 million pounds put much of a dent in the carp population? I hope the Chinese like it enough to ensure depletion of the carp population soon. Maybe they can get some fishermen from Mississippi, from the same company that imported the fish.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

Sell it as an American delicacy. Maybe they'll stop eating felines and canines. Better the carp than Fluffy.

Cindy B.
Cindy B7 years ago

Let's hope Illinois carp REALLY catches on in China... Market it as a delicacy, say it's an endangered species, hint that eating it will make you really strong with great sexual prowess, and charge $1,000.00 per kilo for it so of course, you'll REALLY impress your boss or clients when you order it. Then the Chinese will just knock themselves out trying to get hold of more carp, and with luck we'll not only save the Great Lakes but a good number of dogs and cats and monkeys too.

Christine S.

I am glad someone is eating the carp if it will save an endangered fish.

Anastasia F.
Anastasia F7 years ago

I heard about this. Too bad they can't sell it locally, so it could actually be sustainable.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

you can use them for pet food, fish food, human food, and sell them back to foreign markets, sticks anyone?....most fish are carnivores, some are herbnevores, we eat both....carp is relatively tatsty...

Hartson D.
Hartson Doak7 years ago

I think eating the Asian carp is perfect. They are the lemons. Make the lemonade. I would eat this natural fish before I'd eat a GMO salmon.