Asian Carp: Can't Beat 'Em? Eat 'Em

Chicago company plans to ship carp to China

By Marcus Riley and James Langton
|  Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 6:07 PM CDT
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There may finally be a solution to the Asian carp problem in Illinois -- ship them back where they came from.

The fish that are considered a threat to our Great Lakes ecosystem and a projectile danger to any boater, are actually considered a delicacy in China.

Pearl, Illinois company Big River Fish is planning to ship 30 million pounds of the invasive species to China this year.

"We've had groups in China taste it. They came here and ate it, and say it's the best carp they've ever had," owner Ross Harano said.

Apparently the rivers in China are too polluted to grow quality carp, so the Illinois fish will be sold at a premium to high-end Chinese restaurants.

Big River Fish expects to make around $20 million per year exporting the carp, and the demand could grow, Harano says.

Right now, there's an estimated 100 million pounds of the fish in the Illinois River, so it begs the question, will this be the end of the Asian carp invasion?

At a small business forum Monday in Chicago, Sen. Dick Durbin said he approved of the company's plans.

"It turns out the Chinese were very impressed with the quality of our Asian carp. I hope they're impressed enough to take them all home," Durbin said.

The first shipment goes out Friday.

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