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Illinois plant to catch and ship Asian carp

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Asian carp have become dangerous and daring fish in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.  They launch from the water like small missiles, leaping into boats and eating most native fish.

But American and Chinese investors say they have plans to turn the problem of Asian carp into an opportunity. 

They want to build a processing plant in Grafton, Illinois to catch and ship Asian carp to China, where the fish are widely eaten.

 Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson says the idea started with two men who were “enjoying a beverage, sitting on the river downstream from us, and they were trying to come up with a business.”

Gray Magee says they “saw the fish jumping and looked at it and said, ‘You know, there might be money in that, if we found out a way to do something with it.’”

Research revealed the Chinese love to eat Asian carp.  They’d rather get them from Illinois because, by Chinese standards, the Mississippi River is not polluted. 

In China, the waters are so polluted that the taste of Asian carp there is affected.  The Chinese think the Asian carp from the Mississippi River tastes fresh. 

The Grafton, Illinois plant should be up and running and employ about 35 people by fall 2012.  They expect to use the catch from dozens of fishermen.  The bonus?  They’ll help clear the nuisance carp from the waterways.