The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has published a report on two new businesses that should have a major impact on the Asian carp problem in Illinois. The two new fisheries have very different operation plans but have a common desire to help remove as many of the invasive fish as possible from area rivers and lakes.
Two Rivers Fisheries opened their 36,000-square-foot building in Wickliffe, Ky., on May 30 and plan to process 10,000 pounds of Asian carp every day with a one-shift operation. They will buy the Asian carp from local commercial fishermen, process the meat and then blast-freeze it for shipment to Southeast Asia. The byproducts can be used to make fertilizer. The company is capable of handling more than 30,000 pounds a day once the Asian market has been firmly established.
The second company, American Heartland Fish Products in Grafton Ill., is waiting for a final okay from a State of Illinois program to begin construction. They have taken a different path, partnering with Falcon Protein Products, which is associated with Auburn University. Falcon has a patented process to render the carp into fish meal, fish oil and bone meal. Once the plant is up and running, they hope to process 40,000 to 45,000 pounds of Asian carp per day. The Asian carp has one of the highest protein levels of any freshwater fish and one of the highest levels of Omega-3 oils. After processing, the bone meal and fish meal will be added to livestock feed. The fact that this will be a “green” operation, with no order and no waste-water problems, is a big plus. If successful, these commercial ventures will help reduce the problem with the Asian carp.
Good fishing has been reported in almost all nearby lakes and rivers. Crappie have been biting on worms and small minnows at the Skokie Lagoons. The bluegills in most area lakes have not yet spawned, so females are loaded with eggs. This means fishermen need to be careful with the big girls, as they are the future. Lovelace Park reported a 13-inch crappie caught last weekend by a lucky young lad, and apparently everyone was catching fish as fast as they put bait in the water. Until next time, keep a tight line.
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