FARMINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2015) – Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen today celebrated with local and company officials the opening of a new Kentucky company turning the invasive Asian carp in the region’s waterways into a wholesale foods business.
Blue Shore Fishery LLC is investing more than $1.3 million into a former catfish-processing facility in western Kentucky. The company is creating 66 jobs in Graves County to manufacture food products from Asian carp.
Blue Shore’s owners received assistance from the Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Murray. The Network, which consists of 13 statewide offices that support Kentucky’s small businesses, helped the owners make connections for marketing and Web development, finding access to capital and exporting.
“It is great to celebrate an entrepreneurial success story like that of Blue Shore Fishery,” said. Governor Steve Beshear. “An industry growing out of a fish species that is a problem in our waterways is bringing jobs to the community. This is exactly why our Kentucky Innovation Network reaches out to small businesses.”
Blue Shore’s products, including surimi, a fish paste that can be used to make crab sticks, fishcakes and other foods, contain high-quality fish and fresh local ingredients with no fillers, additives or preservatives. The company plans to sell to wholesale markets in the U.S. and overseas, particularly in Asia.
“Congratulations to Blue Shore Fishery on the opening of this facility in Graves County,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said. “Not only does this mean jobs for Kentuckians, but it’s expected to add to Kentucky’s record-breaking export figures. The Commonwealth exported $27.5 billion to nearly 200 countries last year, and we welcome this opportunity for growth.”
Blue Shore is located in an 11,000-square-foot facility on 53 acres off State Route 97 in Farmington. At its facility the company will process Asian carp caught by local commercial fishermen from rivers and lakes throughout western Kentucky. Blue Shore plans to add 5,000 square feet at the facility in the future. The company also owns two other facilities in Kentucky: RCB Fish Company in Ledbetter and Fin Gourmet in Paducah, a research and development operation.
“We at Blue Shore Fishery have found Graves County to be a vibrant, resourceful and supportive partner,” said co-owner Dr. John Crilly. “We also would not be where we are today without the excellent work done by Riley Construction and all of their associated contractors and suppliers. We are excited for this former catfish processing plant to once again begin receiving fish – this time, wonderful ‘American Carp’ – and to begin production and exporting of our innovative products.”
An invasive species, Asian carp compete with native fish and are overpopulating.
“We are pleased to welcome this investment from Blue Shore Fishery to Farmington,” said Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz. “The new jobs created will have a huge economic impact on the community and we appreciate all those who helped attract this new project.”
“In the last couple of years we’ve seen economic growth around the region as opportunities increase to take advantage of the Asian carp population in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers,” said Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield. “I want to welcome Blue Shore Fishery to Graves County, and the jobs they are creating for our people.”
"How excited we are in the City of Mayfield to welcome Blue Shore Fishery to our local industries,” Mayfield Mayor Teresa Cantrell said. “It is visionary companies like Blue Shore that will be a catalyst for other industrial pursuits that can, in fact, be the key to our future. With a lot of factors to take into account, and a lot of activity in the works, that future is very bright."
“I am so proud that Blue Shore Fishery has chosen Graves County as the site for its new processing plant,” said Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry. “This is our next step in seeing Graves County grow and prosper. We have already seen an impact of Blue Shore Fishery’s influence with employment of local contractors and peripheral businesses. We look forward to the company’s continued growth and building strong ties with the community.”
Ryan Drane, Graves County Economic Development president, also welcomed the new venture.
“While we are excited about the jobs that Blue Shore Fishery will bring to our county, we are equally excited about their commitment to the community, to innovation and to reviving the inland fishing industry,” Drane said. “They will be a great industry partner and we look forward to working with them to help grow their business."
Loretta Daniel, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Murray State University, said she knew great things lay ahead when she began working with Blue Shore owners Drs. Lan Chi Luu and Crilly 16 months ago.
“Working with Blue Shore Fishery from a vision based on the potential market for this product to seeing the grand opening of that vision is a wonderful thing to see,” Daniel said. “They were able to take a fish that is a problem for our waterways and find opportunity. They took a factory built for a specific purpose and revived it as a productive facility that will create jobs for this region. That is what entrepreneurs do and why they are so vital for our region."
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $1,000,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, Blue Shore Fishery is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 4,100 Kentucky companies.
The Kentucky Innovation Network is an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship. The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities. To learn how the Kentucky Innovation Network is helping create and grow Kentucky’s small businesses, visit www.kyinnovation.com.
A detailed community profile for Graves County can be viewed here.
More information about Blue Shore Fishery is available at www.blueshoreusa.com.