North American Caviar Inc. in Paris is a licensed wholesale fish dealer that processes fish to sell to buyers all over the nation.
Clay and Christel Young own the facility and buy caviar and fish directly from commercial fishermen to process and package.
The fish meat can be produced into fillets, strips and more. It doesn’t stop there, either. Fish heads can be sold for stock and many less popular cuts of fish can be sold to pet food companies.
Asian carp, an invasive species in the lake, can be sold to a carp processor in Kentucky or sold as lobster bait to facilities in Maine.
Incentives such as reduced price nets and a 3% bonus at fish markets encourages commercial fishermen to catch Asian carp.
North American Caviar has produced caviar, catfish and buffalo fish for some time and recently expanded to accommodate Asian carp production.
A recent $150,000 expansion added stone paths, a new refrigerator and a new freezer to the facility to allow for more production.
Young says he wants to expand more. He is currently applying for grants to help his ability to produce Asian carp.
He says the facility is at capacity and needs more room to satisfy potential buyers he currently can’t serve.
Local fishing guide Steve McCadams said Asian carp is harming the tourism industry in the area.
He said bad publicity on the fish has been common recently, and bad news travels quickly.
He said since fishing on the lake has decreased, more resorts and stores in the area stay empty.
Young said that fewer and fewer people fish on the lake every year.
Frank Fiss, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency chief of fisheries, said the best way to control the Asian carp population is fishing.
McCadams said that more tools and incentives for Asian carp fishers are necessary to support that control strategy.