And, as one commenter said, now we can export to them a toxic, arsenic-tainted product.
July 13, 2010
Sun-Times Media Wire
The Asian carp can become an economic engine for Illinois rather than a threat to the Great Lakes, according to a company that plans to harvest the fish from Illinois rivers and ship them to China, where they are a delicacy.
The announcement of the new initiative was made Tuesday by Gov. Pat Quinn, and representatives from the Chinese meat processing company Beijing Zhuochen Animal Husbandry Company and Big River Fisheries of Pearl, Ill., according to a release from the governor's office.
This first-of-its-kind partnership will enhance the commercial fishing industry, create about 180 jobs and relieve pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Electric Barrier System, designed to stop fish from moving further towards Lake Michigan, the release said.
The agreement is "one of the most aggressive efforts to address the Asian carp problem, and is a critical step to long-term economic sustainability and the success of the commercial fishing industry,” Quinn said in the release.
Illinois is entering into an agreement with Beijing Zhuochen and Big River Fisheries to harvest carp from Illinois rivers. Big River will process, package and ship the fish to Zhuochen for resale in international markets where the fish is a delicacy, the release said.
The company is expected to harvest at least 30 million pounds of fish by the end of 2011, according to the release.
The state will invest $2 million in capital funds to help Big River retrofit its existing facility, increase processing capacity and expand two new production facilities in Pittsfield, which will create 61 jobs and 120 indirect jobs.
Commercial fishermen, contracted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, have already started removing Asian carp in the Illinois River.
“The high quality and taste of the wild Asian carp from Big River Fish far exceeded our expectations. We see a tremendous market in China,” Liang Chang, chairman of Beijing Zhuochen said in the release.
“The Asian carp can become an economic engine for Illinois rather than a threat," Rick Smith, president of Big River Fish, said in the release.
In June, a bighead Asian carp was found in Lake Calumet along the Chicago Area Waterway System, the first found above the Electric Barrier System.
Illinois, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and commercial fishermen have intensely sampled both Lake Calumet and the Calumet River leading to Lake Michigan since the find, but no other Asian carp have been found in the waterway system, the release said.
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