Asian Carp has been recognized as a major problem affecting the health of the Illinois River, threatening the Great Lakes, but also having economic value. Greater Peoria’s approach is the result of nearly two years of extensive research and analysis of the Peoria, IL region with a goal of identifying market opportunities for Asian Carp products, while at the same time, reducing the population of this invasive species and risk to the Great Lakes.
The 2013 report “Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study” (GLMRIS), identified eight possible solutions to the threat of aquatic nuisance species to the Great Lakes. Missing was a market driven solution with long term economic value, private investment and job creation through efficient harvesting, value added processing and product marketing.
- Challenges and Solutions
- Market Driven Solution
- Strategic Elements
- Greater Peoria Growth
- Regional Opportunity Value
Present Challenges and New Solutions
- Fish biomass is over taking the river and time is of the essence to reduce the population.
- Presently, Peoria has no landing and processing capability near the large biomass population. If created, the cost of harvesting drops and new business opportunities rise.
- Higher priced value added products are needed to incentivize fisherman to fish and implement more productive harvesting methods.
- Current retail market perceptions of Asian Carp, as a human consumption food, are weak.
- Unique, high value non-human consumption product alternatives are being developed with great success and will continue to generate greater and more diversified demand.
Market Driven Solution
The Greater Peoria EDC and local industry leaders have developed and are implementing a comprehensive market driven solution to reduce the invasive Asian Carp in the Illinois River. The overall business case targets high value products in the human and non-human markets creating significant margins for fisherman, production facilities and distribution. This “pilot project” has four strategic elements, all underway in Greater Peoria, which are key factors in developing a market driven solution which results in the new economic value, private investment and job creation.
- Harvest Methods, Technology and Fishermen Development
Higher demand will drive fisherman to employ more cost effective, higher volume harvests.
- Handling and Value Added Processing
A handling and processing plant in the Peoria area will enable a 30% increase in harvest immediately. This approach will improve profits because the landing sites are closer to a production facility; allowing fishermen greater time on the water.
- Market Conditioning and Events
A market engagement and event plan to improve consumer perception and acceptance of Asian Carp as a culinary item for human consumption.
- Research & Development
This market driven solution still requires more effective capture and processing technology that will create higher value products. Local research centers such as the USDA Ag Lab in Peoria could assist with research and help to establish new value added products.
Greater Peoria Growth
This “pilot project” and market driven strategies are already underway in Greater Peoria. We believe that the value added market driven approach will be transferable to other river communities resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of new economic value and jobs across the country.
The 2010 “Asian Carp Marketing Summit” held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana Sea Grant, Illinois Commercial Fishing Association and Shedd Aquarium, clearly states that “harvesting seems to be a pragmatic method to reduce the numbers”. In another study, “Fishing Down the Bighead and Silver Carps: Reducing The Risk Of Invasion To The Great Lakes” by SIU’s Dr. James Garvey, also identifies many advantages of harvesting versus fences or poison to reduce the population of the invasive species. These documents are the foundation upon which we have developed and are executing the approach.
Regional Opportunity Value
For every 10M Ibs. of new harvest @ 25% final yield, equals 2.5M Ibs of product @ $4.00Ib finish product = $10M/year of revenue for the area, before the multiplier effects are calculated.
Key Leaders & Participants
- Greater Peoria EDC
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
- Peoria County
- Bass Pro Shop
- Central Illinois Union Alliance
- Dixon Seafood
- Select Logistics
- Schafer Fisheries
- Local Fishermen
- Economic Development Professionals