State awards contract to fight Asian carp
PADUCAH, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state has awarded its first-ever fish house contract in an effort to combat the Asian carp problem in western Kentucky.
The governor’s office announced Tuesday that the Kentucky Fish Center, LLC, of Wickliffe, won the contract to establish the fish house, which will expand the market for Kentucky-caught Asian carp.
Asian carp caught in Kentucky will be sold by Kentucky Fish Center in daily auctions open to all interested buyers, according to the state.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will oversee the auctions and is pledging up to $4 million in loans and incentives for the fish house and commercial fishermen.
The state says the department will pay commercial anglers an incentive of 5 cents per pound for their catch, supplementing the fish houses guaranteed 14 cents per pound purchase price, to make fishing for carp in Kentuckys waters economically attractive.
Commercial anglers currently harvest two million pounds of Asian carp from Kentucky’s waters each year. The hope is program can increase that catch to 20 million pounds across the state within the next five years.
The state says incentives offered under the new distribution center contract will guarantee anglers a buyer and a nearby place to offload their catch and should lure more commercial anglers to Kentucky and Barkley lakes.
According to the state, the program includes a $734,000 secured loan for fixed assets to assist with the start-up of the fish house. Performance-based incentives of $570,000 to $700,000 a year will be awarded if the escalating yearly harvest goals of 5 to 20 million pounds of fish are met. The secured loan would be forgiven in 2024 if the 20 million pound goal is met that year. The program will be fully funded by boat registration fees.