EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Asian carp continue to affect the fishing industry and damage ecosystems on the Illionis River.
Fisherman say there are hundreds of millions of pounds of Asian carp that swim in the Illinois River.
An East Peoria business, Sorce Enterprises wants to reduce that number to not only protect the environment, but also feed people.
Asian carp, thought to many as an ugly, slimy, inedible fish is actually a staple in many foreign cuisines.
“They’re the most accucultured fish in the world, if you go to China, it’s their hamburger everybody eats them there, but we haven’t really taken onto them in this country yet,” said fisherman Dave Buchanan.
That’s what president of Sorce Enterprises Roy Sorce is trying to change.
“They can be utilized for what they are which is a nutritious product that can help feed Illinois and even worldwide programs in the future,” said Sorce.
To make this a reality Sorce is partnering with local fisherman providing them a convenient drop-off location right along the Illinois River.
Sorce says the initial goal is to bring in 10,000 pounds per day, but hopes to eventually bump up to 50,000 pounds.
“That number there is a number that we can easily sustain with the amount of Asian carp we have out there in our rivers alone,” said Sorce. “We can pull out between 15 and 20 million pounds of Asian carp a year in just the area outside our property.”
Sorce hopes this initiative can remove the negative astigmatism that’s attached to Asian carp.
“These fish are very low in contaminants I believe this is the second healthiest fish you can eat. The only healthier fish you can eat right now is wild caught salmon,” said Sorce.
Fisherman Dave Buchanan has fished Asian carp for 20 years and is happy to see something done about this problem.
“Controlling the fish, controlling the invasive species and providing jobs to boost the economy it’s a win win for everybody,” said Buchanan. “Especially taking them out of this stretch of the river you’re alleviating a lot of the pressure on the great lakes.”
Sorce says they want to get the most out of these fish and waste as little as possible. That means using any scraps as bait and fertilizer for plants.