Kentucky is Gearing up to Process Asian Carp from the Mississippi River

HICKMAN, Kent.— The Associated Press is reporting an $18.7 million project to process the invasive asian carp that are taking over North America’s waterways. 

Since first entering U.S. waterways by escaping wastewater retention ponds in the 1970s, the four species known collectively as “asian carp”—the bighead, black, grass and silver carp—have wrought havoc on native fish populations. The National Park Service says the carp, “cause serious damage to the native fish populations in the lakes and rivers that they infest, because they out-compete other fish for food and space.”

For anglers, who have seen the consequences of the carp invasion in the degradation of fisheries, the Kentucky-led project to process the carp may come as good news.

The project would create a 75,000 square foot processing plant for the carp in the small Kentucky town of Hickman, located along the Mississippi River just north of the state’s southern border with Tennessee.

Riverine Fisheries International, LLC will own and operate the facility, which according to AP will seek to process carp harvested from the Mississippi, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers into fishmeal, imitation seafood, fish oil, mince and fillets that they plan to ship around the globe.

Establishing a commercial fishery for the carp should be no challenge.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife, commercial fishermen harvested almost 83,000 pounds of Asian carp from the state’s 218,000 acre Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley on the Tennessee River. That harvest was landed in just two days of fishing in March of 2013.

To see the scale of the asian carp invasion, check out this YouTube video from North American Fishing: