Chef Philippe Parola sees an opportunity to reduce the carp population and build a business.
Parola, who lives in Baton Rouge, La., is seeking funding for a plant that will eventually process 200,000 lbs. a day of carp, turning it into fish patties, croquettes and other items for domestic and international markets.
If he builds the plant from scratch, he estimates the cost will be $10 million. Parola said he’s talking with Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky about possibly using an existing building, which would lower the cost to around $7 million.
He figures the plant would start processing 30,000 lbs. a day. “If we do 100,000 to 200,000 lbs., we will be able to control the population,” he said.
Parola said he’s resolved three challenges with carp: the name — he would change it to “Silverfin;” the bones — he said he has assembly line technology to debone the fish; and availability — he wants to build a network of fishermen to supply the carp.
“This is not just a Great Lakes issue,” he said. “This is a nationwide issue. We have these fish in Louisiana. The only solution to the problem is to create a sustainable, valuable market.”
And, for the record, Parola said the carp “tastes like crab meat.”
For more on his plans, go to: http://www.chefphilippe.com. — D.K. DuPont