Gov. Matt Bevin today announced the award of the state’s first-ever fish house contract, in an innovative step to attack the Asian carp problem in western Kentucky and encourage job growth in the region. Bevin announced that Kentucky Fish Center, LLC of Wickliffe, Ky. has won the contract to establish the fish house, which will expand the market for Kentucky-caught Asian carp.
By buying carp caught in Kentucky waters at a guaranteed price of 19 cents per pound, and selling the fish to both domestic and international users in daily auctions, the fish house will play a key role in growing the market for Kentucky carp.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is pledging up to $4 million in loans and incentives for the fish house and commercial fishermen. The department will pay commercial anglers an incentive of 5 cents per pound for their catch, supplementing the fish house’s guaranteed 14 cents per pound purchase price, to make fishing for carp in Kentucky’s waters economically attractive.
Commercial angling is the only practical method for limiting and reducing Asian carp numbers. Currently, only a handful of commercial anglers operate on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
The incentives offered under the new distribution center contract will guarantee anglers a buyer and a nearby place to offload their catch. Brooks said the arrangement should lure more commercial anglers to Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
Department officials estimate the effort would cost $3.5 million a year if it were run entirely by the state and would produce a harvest far less than the 20 million pound goal of the partnership announced today.