Bill proposes funding for harvesting Asian carp pests

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
1 July 2006, at 1:00am

ILLINOIS - Sen. Mike Jacobs wants to get Asian carp out of Illinois' waterways and onto prisoners' lunch trays as fish patties, but first he'll have to get other lawmakers to bite. The invasive fish is largely considered an aquatic pest, but the East Moline Democrat wants to more people to consider it as a food source and is proposing $750,000 in state funding to help a commercial fishery harvest and process it. "I think the government needs to help when it can and when no one else will," Jacobs said in a news conference Tuesday. Schafer Fisheries in Thomson already sells fresh Asian carp to Asian customers overseas and to Asian-American communities, but the market could be expanded to prisons, nursing homes, even schools if there were a demand for the processed patty, said owner Mike Schafer. Asian carp also can be processed into a fish extract used in gardening and the head is considered an Asian delicacy. Schafer said his company, which is in Jacobs' legislative district, has invested about $1.4 million on a processing plant. The $750,000 from the state could buy the processing equipment. Jacobs also hopes the project would attract some private funding. Source: The Times