Enhanced Contract Fishing Program Success & IDNR Requesting Proposals to Create Asian Carp Brand

Enhanced Contract Fishing Program Success

The IDNR and its partner Southern Illinois University (SIU) report early success of the Enhanced Contract Fishing Program to remove Asian carp from the state's waterways. As of December 12, 2019, the program has contracted with 19 fishermen and reports first harvests and sale to local processors totaling 246,816 pounds caught in the Peoria Pool of the Illinois River! Contracts provide commercial fishers 10 cents per pound for Asian carp they catch in this pool of the river, and sell to processors.

With consistent supply provided through this program, processors that make both food and non-food products increase sales, which spurs increased removal – a positive, upward spiral. "The chief goals of the program are to prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes using these skilled fishers and to increase removal by supplying fish processors in the region," said IDNR Aquatic Nuisance Species Program Manager Kevin Irons. "We are very excited about this new approach that uses both public and private resources to combat this important environmental problem."

The IDNR has conducted ongoing, successful Asian carp removal utilizing contracted fishers primarily in the Starved Rock, Marseilles and Dresden Island pools of the upper Illinois River. Those efforts have netted millions of pounds of Asian carp and reduced Asian carp biomass by 96 percent at the population front in the Dresden Island Pool. Expanding to the commercial fishing industry in the Peoria Pool will further protect the Great Lakes. Licensed commercial fisherman willing to fish in the Peoria Pool of the Illinois River are encouraged to enroll in the program by calling the Enhanced Contract Fishing Program Office at 215.584.3184.

Branding Initiative RFP Launch

Another initiative to support removal of Asian carp is to communicate a positive image for Asian carp, emphasizing its beneficial attributes as wild-caught, locally-sourced, and mild-flavored, among others. Rebranding Asian carp will support fish processors and product makers to boost sales, as well as spur increased fishing and interest in those Asian carp products.

Tetra Tech, a subconsultant to the IDNR and SIU, is requesting proposals from qualified vendors to develop this new, positive brand and marketing strategy to benefit a range of product makers who use Asian carp. This RFP seeks to reposition these invasive species' image to favorably influence consumer and commercial perceptions.

Download a PDF copy of the Request for Proposals: Asian Carp Brand Development Marketing Strategy here.

Asian Carp