The International Fisheries Industrial Park in Wickliffe, Kentucky has opened with a splash, heralding a major new offensive in the ongoing battle against invasive Asian Carp.
Asian Carp have emerged as one of the most worrisome invasive fish species to affect the United States, so much so that the phenomenon is commonly referred to as the “Asian Carp Crisis”.
The problem began in the 1970s when four species of the scavenging fish (Bighead, Silver, Grass and Black carp) were introduced into American waterways in a misguided effort to treat waste and reduce algae. Over time, however, natural flooding and accidental escapes allowed the fish to spread uncontrollably, devastating indigenous fish species and threatening fisheries worth billions of dollars.
Asian Carp have few predators in North American waterways and commercial exploitation of the species here presents a number of problems. For one, the fish are bony and difficult to filet. Shipping frozen carp to China, where they've always been popular, isn't an option as Chinese consumers prefer fresh fish.
This new initiative spearheaded by Angie Yu, president of Two Rivers Fisheries, addresses both of these issues. The Chinese-American businesswomen is the driving force behind the International Fisheries Industrial Park, a vertically-integrated fish processing complex situated on 64 acres of wooded land in Wickliffe, Ballard County, Kentucky.
Ballard County boasts an ideal location in extreme western Kentucky, right at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in an area plagued by overabundant Asian Carp. Yu invited Chinese manufacturers of ground fish balls, smoked fish, dried fish, and fish sauce to lease space at the new industrial park, from which they can export value-added products back into the Chinese market.
Among the new tenants is a niche manufacturing venture that converts fish-processing waste into organic fertilizers, dramatically reducing pollution and environmental remediation costs.
Two Rivers Fisheries was founded by Angie Yu in 2012, and over the past 7 years the firm has grown to become the leading Asian Carp exporter in Kentucky. Now that the International Fisheries Industrial Park has come online, the firm expects to process 5 million pounds of Asian Carp this year, increasing to 20 million pounds annually by 2024.
At full capacity, the industrial park will house 12 tenants and will create at least another 150 full-time jobs, according to Yu. “I thank you for what these new jobs will mean to so many individuals who look forward to new opportunities to work in their home county,” stated Senator Rand Paul, whose congratulatory letter was read out at the industrial park's launching ceremony.
To quote Angie Yu, “Our mission is to reduce, reuse and redefine the Asian Carp.” That ain't nothin' to carp about! (via WKMS, National Fisherman and People's Daily Online, images via Xinhua/Xu Xingtang)