Where did they come from?
Invasive Asian Carp have proliferated throughout the United States since the 1970s when they were introduced as a potential solution to clean aquaculture systems in the South. Unfortunately, the carp escaped during floods throughout region and have since expanded across Midwestern river ecosystems. To date the Illinois government has spent over $400 million solely on electric barriers to stop the carp migration from reaching the Great Lakes.
Why do you want to use Asian carp?
Today, Asian Carp are plentiful and super cheap to purchase. This is primarily due to the fact that Asian Carp are deemed a trash fish - essentially no one wants them or knows what to do with them. Fishermen get only about 10 - 18 cents per pound to fish them with limited markets to sell to at the moment. We see carp as the future for providing a dual economic and sustainable impact throughout Midwestern states.
Won’t the Asian Carp run out?
Short answer - No.
Through our conversations with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources we have a clear understanding that the Asian Carp are here to stay. They make up 97% of the biomass of the Illinois river, produce up to 1 million eggs per year (per carp), and already 30 - 50 million pounds of carp exist in the Illinois river alone (273 miles). Biologists predict we can get their biomass down to 20% but this is years away with no current plan or vision on how it would be obtained.
Why not use them for human consumption?
Another great question! There are already companies that focus on human consumption of carp, most of which flash freeze the fish and then ship them over to Asian markets. Some research has shown the “economic” viability of the human consumption market, however, these studies undermine the time required for a movement of American taste-buds to evolve from existing negative consumer opinions of carp to one that wants to eat them. Essentially, no one is currently interested in eating them and existing products have been slow to take off. Focusing on Asian Carp for fishmeal offers both scalability & impact. Our feeds offer a solution to maximize the amount of carp processed while increasing the amount of positive impact we can have on both ocean & river biodiversity.
Won’t a bigger feed company jump into the market?
No. How do we know? We asked them!
While the carp invasion is an opportunity for other feed companies to tap into, from a financial & protein-needs standpoint it doesn’t provide one great enough for the scale larger producers would need. Major players in the market need a substantial amount of protein to harvest for their feed operations. While there are plenty of carp, the time, R&D, and costs wouldn’t be worth a major firm to invest into. However, as a small company focused on a niche market within the aquaculture industry we can take advantage of the Asian Carp invasion no problem.