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Fishermen Fight Back Against Asian Carp in East Peoria

East Peoria tackles Asian Carp overpopulation problem.

EAST PEORIA - The Asian Carp weren’t very active for the first Flying Fish Festival ad Bowfishing tournament in East Peoria, but the event still drew a good crowd.
Many people were tasting and enjoying the Asian Carp for the first time. They were also learning how to catch and prepare the fish.

This could help put a stop to the problem of Asian Carp overpopulation in the Illinois River

About fifty teams of fisherman were on the Illinois River trying to bring in hauls of flying fish.  

“A lot faster paced. A lot quicker. You see a lot more fish,” said Fisherman Mike Snuggs.

They weren’t using lures and tackle, but bows and arrows to bring in baskets full of fish.

“The water will throw your arrow trajectory off so you want to aim low below the fish and that way you hit the fish hopefully,” said Snuggs.

It’s a common way to angle a fish that spends much of its time above the water.

“You can actually turn it. So once you hit the fish you can flip it over and get it out of the fish,” said Snuggs.

They were competing for a prize of $2,500 at the first bow fishing tournament in East Peoria.

Because the water was so high, the fish weren't jumping quite as much as they normally do. But that didn't stop the fisherman from having fun.

“Oh it's tons of fun, yeah. And in almost any water in America you can get raw fish.”

But in the Illinois River, Asian Carp are over producing and disrupting the eco-system.
East Peoria officials believe if more people at the fish, it help put a stop to this growing problem.

“It's just the stigma of carp in this area. I think people see them as a bottom feed fish.”

Which is why the City teamed with Bass Pro Shop to put on a festival to show that the unpopular fish is actually pretty tasty.

“They seem as not very nice. And when you get them on a tray and you the white meet you probably won't hesitate.”

And fish-lovers at the festival we spoke with agreed, especially those who were tasting Asian Carp for the first time.
“I've never had Asian Carp before. I can't believe I actually ate it. But it is delicious. It is really good.

Peoria is floating the idea of bringing an Asian Carp Processing Plant to Central Illinois.

The nearest one is more than two hours away. The potential plant would make processing the fish for fertilizer, fish meal and human consumption much cheaper.

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