Professor not carping about potential
review-620.jpg> ASIAN CARP
Chuck Litecky of Carbondale pulls up a 31.57-pound carp he caught at
Carp-A-Thon, a contest held in early August. (Provided)
2012-10-21T06:00:00ZProfessor not carping about potentialbY SCOTT
FITZGERALD, THE SOUTHERNthesouthern.com
October 21, 2012 6:00 am . bY SCOTT FITZGERALD, THE SOUTHERN
icle_67fb5bb4-1b38-11e2-ac09-001a4bcf887a.html#comments> (1) Comments
CARBONDALE - An avid fisherman, SIU management professor Chuck Litecky is
wild about Asian carp, whether it be catching them along the Ohio River,
preparing carp as a main gourmet dinner course or telling stories about the
unique nature of the fish.
"They literally jump into your boat," said Litecky about catching Asian
carp. He has experience fishing from the lakes of Minnesota to the Gulf of
Mexico and Florida's coast.
Litecky is so smitten by Asian carp, he is trying to get the word out about
what he sees as economic potential its presence in Southern Illinois waters
"There is huge potential for an Asian carp fishery here that would lead to
jobs and economic development in Southern Illinois," Litecky said recently
as he jotted down ideas.
It's unheard of. Local investors and their business partners in Grafton
along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis announced plans this summer
to build an Asian carp processing plant. It is projected to employ 35 people
and provide a market to many fishermen.
Southern Illinois lacks a processing plant, which Litecky said ideally would
be along the Ohio River. And such a plant also could compliment something
already under way at SIU.
SIU researchers led by James Garvey (AFS member, '92), director of the
Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center at SIU have been looking to
quantify and solve density problems of the fish in major Illinois rivers.
There has been considerable fear the Asian carp, an invasive species, will
migrate into Great Lakes fresh waters and damage populations of native fish.
According to a January story by Tina Lam of the Detroit Free Press, more
than $80 million has been spent fighting Asian carp in the past two years
from federal Great Lakes funds.
Researchers such as Garvey and his team are seeking a potential solution in
Asian carp as a domestic food source.
Litecky said Asian carp is high in protein, and they feed on plankton and
don't accumulate mercury and other pollutants. It is widely eaten as a main
food source in China. And, although tough to debone, it's easy to prepare,
Litecky said he was fortunate in learning about the delicacy of the fish by
attending a cooking demonstration centering on Asian carp given by noted
chef Philippe Parola at the Neighborhood Co-op in September 2011.
Soon, the management professor was catching the fish on his regular fishing
expeditions and won the big fish award in the inaugural Carp-A-Thon hosted
by Saint Andrew School, the SIU Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
and the Bow fishing Association of Southern Illinois. While bow fishing,
Litecky landed a 31.57-pound big head out of the Ohio River.
Litecky said Asian carp can be branded, packaged and promoted like other
popular fish items. There also would have to be business plans adhered to if
an Asian carp fishery became a reality in the region. Factors would include
transportation costs to major markets.
But with the research at SIU, the presence of major rivers in the region and
the abundance of Asian carp, "We could build some kind of economic center
here with SIU doing another something directly for the area," Litecky said.
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