Student starts business to tackle carp crisis – Eagle News Online

CITY OF MANLIUS — As other members of his class turn to lucrative ventures such as lawn mowing this summer, Fayetteville-Manlius senior Troy He turned to a slightly different opportunity.
In April, the 17-year-old used his free time when he wasn’t preoccupied with school work to follow his dream of starting Carpioid LLC, a company dedicated to reducing, reusing and redefining the Asian carp, a goal otherwise known as “the three Rs.”
Hailing from China, the four species of freshwater fish grouped together were introduced to the United States in the late 1960s as biological cleaners for murky catfish ponds and rural lagoons.
However, they have become known over the decades for their prolific daily intake of up to 80% of their body weight in algae, excess grass, and microorganisms like plankton. Due to this diet, the abundant wild imported carp population has begun to compete with native fish such as bass, perch and walleye for food supply, becoming an invasive threat to aquatic ecosystems in which they were placed.
Unlike the state of Illinois’ rebranding of Asian carp as “copi”, he sought to retain the word “carp” as a prefix in his company name, although it included a form of heart inspired by a mathematical curve instead of the “o” in Carpioid to attach an optimistic connotation.
Removing carp from waterways, he says, can result in the fish being eaten, its bones reused as jewelry, or its offal turned into garden fertilizer and crab bait.
“The three Rs go together,” he said. “When you redefine fish, you can reuse it better, because when it has a better reputation, people are more likely to eat it.”
Regarding the consumption of carp by humans, he said the fish can be fried, sautéed or made into soup, at least in this country, where there are no protective catch quotas treating it as a delicate food.
The local high schooler was heavily influenced in his mission by his father, Lining, who works primarily in Manlius as vice president of development for Two Rivers Fisheries, America’s largest processor and exporter of Asian carp.
For two consecutive summers in college, Troy spent time as a business development intern handling boxes, cleaning fish, and designing the website for his father’s company at his main factory and market in Kentucky. . He also worked separately for a week as a bilingual interpreter for visiting businessmen and delegates from China.
Last month, Troy finally launched its first product: a packaged treat for dogs and cats made entirely from ground, freeze-dried carp meat.
Available for purchase on eBay and on his educational website, asiancarpinamerica.com, the reduced-moisture, high-protein jerky treat shared with neighbors, friends and teachers contains no additives or preservatives.
“I’m so proud of Troy, his idea and his efforts because this is an economically and ecologically significant issue that needs to be addressed,” Lining said. “I think this is not only a unique project, but also very meaningful.”
Although working with the company can be time consuming, Troy said it has been enjoyable as well as a potential resume builder who he wants to do his best to grow in the future.

About the author