A new Asian carp operation in East Peoria would allow the "limited" processing and freezing of the invasive fish in an effort to reduce the species' numbers.
Businessman Roy Sorce is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to incentivize fishermen to target Asian carp by making it profitable.
"We're utilizing all the parts of the Asian carp that are abundant in the river and throughout the state of Illinois and many states to maximize the use of those fish, and eliminate as many as we can. Reduce the numbers," Sorce said.
The East Peoria Zoning Board of Appeals approved a special use permit for the business on Monday. City Planning and Development director Ty Livingston said the Asian carp business is a concept that East Peoria has worked to get off the ground for about a decade.
"It's something that's here. It's an invasive species. But it also has some good ramifications for the economy and putting some people to work," Livingston said.
Fish would be delivered to the rear of Sorce's business, 3201 N. Main, directly from fishermen's boats. The business sits along the Illinois River.
The whole fish would be packed in ice and shipped to offsite processing plants in other towns. Processed fish would then be returned to East Peoria to be stored in freezers until sold.
"Bait is one option. There is a human consumption option there, also. We're working on securing end users for this product, but we're very close to having that done," Sorce said.
Waste products from the fish such as the heads will be used as fertilizer components.
Livingston said there may be opportunities for other projects like Sorce's in the future.
The hope is to get the operation up and running this year. Sorce also runs a craft cannabis growing operation out of his East Peoria business.
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