|Map of far Western Kentucky shows rivers, lakes and|
watersheds. (Four Rivers Watershed Watch base map)
Two Rivers is the biggest Asian-carp exporter in the U.S. and has processed almost 8 million pounds since 2013, according to Vice President of Development Lining He. "There is a lot of potential," He told Snow. "Right now, we are using it as frozen fish, the basic product. Next, we are working on ground meat. From there, you can do hamburgers, sausage, sandwiches, that type of thing . . . Over the next couple of years, we will have a full operation covering the frozen fish, processing and reprocessed products as well as the organic fertilizer."
But the company will need a reliable supply of carp to do that. That's where enterprising locals come in: Kentucky Fish Center will buy fish from fishermen, offering $5,000 or more a month, a sign-up bonus and a free Ford F-150 pickup truck bonus for those who bring in a million pounds of Asian carp in one year. Workers will also be needed for the processing plant.
Anglers will have to catch a lot more Asian carp to keep them from dominating waters in Western Kentucky. State Tourism Secretary Don Parkinson told Snow, "We need to support the creation of a much bigger fish industry here. We're getting about 2 million pounds a year now; we need 5 million in two years, and in five years, we're going to have 20 million. If you don't start getting fish out on that scale, it's going to overrun these lakes."