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East Peoria Council Backs Plan To Start Asian Carp Processing Facility

The East Peoria City Council gave an initial nod towards allowing businessman Roy Sorce's special use permit to process Asian carp caught in the Illinois River into bait.Sorce is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in an effort to create a market for the invasive species and give fishers a reason to catch them in bulk. He'll flash-freeze, cut up, and package up carp for shipment at his 3201 N. Main business, Sorce Enterprises.

Planning and Development Director Ty Livingston said the processing facility is the culmination of about a decade's worth of work.

"I think we finally got the momentum here. We got some really good timing," Livingston said. "[The] Illinois Department of Natural Resources is putting in some attention to how do we make this an economic case as opposed to just how do we eliminate the fish. It's a really good opportunity here."

The site is not expected to emit odors. Fish will not be cooked or smoked onsite.

Commissioner Mark Hill said the project will have economic and ecological benefits.

"There's been measures for years trying to keep them out of the Great Lakes. So anything we can do to stave off the population is probably a well-spent venture," Hill said.

The processed carp will be used as bait for the lobster and crab industries on the East Coast and Louisiana. A change to city code also opens the door for similar businesses to sink roots in East Peoria's manufacturing areas near the river. 

The council will vote on second readings of the two Sorce-related agenda items at its next regularly-scheduled meeting in two weeks.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.