Even though Asian carp is considered a nuisance by many in the Great Lakes and Mississippi regions, these fish have been a popular food in China for thousands of years. Because of this fact, experts who took part in Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s Asian Carp Marketing Summit (ACMS) have proposed that the invasive species be exported in high numbers back home to Asian markets.
The ACMS was held so various stakeholder groups could discuss opportunities and impediments to commercial marketing of Asian carp as a way to slow the spread of these fish. In addition to exporting, participating experts agreed that another solution could be marketing high-value Asian carp fillets to restaurants and retailers. They also recommended converting Asian carp by-products into pet food or treats to eliminate waste and maximize profit opportunities.
For all this to happen, incentives are needed for anglers, restaurants, and retailers to harvest the fish. For example, increasing the price per pound and lifting fishing restrictions were proposed as possible solutions to entice fishermen. Also, participants said it may be necessary to re-brand the fish to overcome the public’s negative perception.
Attending the meeting were commercial fishers, processors, natural resource managers, marketers, researchers, conservation organizations, aquaculturists, distributors, and restaurateurs from eight different states.
The two-day summit was held from Sept. 20-21 and was sponsored by IISG, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.