Friday, May 31, 2013

Chinese company opens $2.5 million processing plant for Asian carp at center of their U.S. range

UPDATE, Aug. 30: The plant makes its first shipment to China, The Advance Yeoman, a local weekly, reports.
We've often reported, most recently here, about the massive number of Asian carp wreaking havoc in the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by damaging sports fisheries and endangering boaters and skiers. Federal agencies have spent more than $200 million to stop the carp from getting into the Great Lakes, while states like Kentucky have been considering options such as commercializing the fish for animal feed and human consumption.

Kentucky seems to have found a solution, by way of China. One day after a Chinese company agreed to buy Smithfield Foods in the biggest Chinese takeover of an American firm, a Chinese company is investing $2.5 million in Kentucky by opening the first American processing plant for Asian carp.

The plant is in Wickliffe, where the Ohio meets the Mississippi, and at the center of the Asian carp population. (U.S. Geological Survey map) It is expected to create 50 jobs and process up to 10,000 pounds of fish per day, which will be shipped to Southeast Asia, reports Robert Bradfield for WPSD-TV in Paducah.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has given the company preliminary approval for up to $1 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program, reports Bradfield. The Delta Regional Authority also authorized $307,000 for the company. (Read more)

UPDATE, July 27: "Asian carp are popular in China and the Far East, but have not caught on in the U.S.," writes Mary Potter of the West Kentucky Journal. "Part of the problem is confusion with the carp’s cousins, North American carp, that are bottom feeders and not worth eating. Asian carp are vegetarians and are considerably tastier." Some have suggested that the carp be sold as "silverfin."

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