Howe Partners with Sorce Freshwater Co. to Provide Industrial Flake Ice Machines that Help with Invasive Asian Carp Control

Two of the things we value most at Howe Corp are sustainability and partnerships with great companies. When we get a chance to do both, we get really excited. Sorce Freshwater Co. is part of an exciting partnership to reduce the invasive Asian carp (Copi) population in the Illinois River that includes a 7.5 Ton HoweIce® flaker. We are currently in discussions for a second unit. Read about our partnership below.

Sorce Freshwater Co.’s Story

Roy Sorce owns a processing facility called Sorce Freshwater Co. in East Peoria, Illinois. He is working to overhaul and modernize the Asian carp industry in central Illinois to ensure that these highly nutritious fish can get to market and help protect the Illinois River and Great Lakes. Asian carp is considered an invasive species in the Illinois River and there are approximately 60 million to 75 million pounds of carp living there, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ calculations.

In 2020, Sorce Enterprises and a group of independent fishermen formed the Midwest Fish Co-op and Sorce Freshwater Co. Their goal is to reduce the population of these environmentally destructive fish to restore the waterways while utilizing them in an effective manner and denying their access to the Great Lakes. The added benefit is great commercial fishing jobs and a sustainable, nutritious protein source. Sorce hopes to remove 15 million pounds of Asian carp from the river every year to keep the population in check. Before Sorce Freshwater, tens of thousands of pounds of Asian carp were harvested every day and many went to waste, so a plan had to be made to store and process more of these fish. The company’s promotional material says, “What started as a simple offer for providing local fishermen a temperature-controlled warehouse to store their fish has since blown up into Sorce Freshwater, a business which plans to utilize these carp in a multitude of beneficial ways.”

Without an industrial ice flaker on site, the fishermen unloaded the fish at Sorce, where they utilized ice that was delivered; then the fish were transported to other processing plants in the morning.

Howe has worked closely with Sorce Freshwater Co. in advising and designing the optimal flake ice equipment solution for this valuable project.

With the addition of the industrial ice-making machine, the fishermen no longer have to take their daily catch to one of the few processing plants within a few hours of the Peoria Pool. Now they can process these fish in E. Peoria, IL. Ice was the key to the expansion of this operation. Roy’s vision is to create a model operation that others can follow. The next big hurdle is the marketing campaign to inform the public that the protein from Asian carp can be minced or cut into boneless strips and has a lot of health benefits along with being very delicious and worth eating.

Commercial Fishermen Depend on Howe Ice

Flake ice is commonly used in aquaculture for various purposes. Flake ice has a flat and thin shape, and it is usually about 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters in thickness. Commercial fishermen and fish processors use flake ice to transport and store fish and other aquatic organisms. When fish are caught, they need to be kept fresh until they can be transported to markets or processing facilities. Flake ice is used to create a layer of ice around the fish, which helps to maintain their freshness and quality during transport.

Howe flake ice is used by fisheries around the world because it maintains the greatest surface contact among competitors to keep fish fresh from catch to distribution. Our flake ice cools 17,000 square feet/ton compared to cubed ice at 4,250 square feet/ton. HoweIce® lasts twice as long as our competitors to save you time and money.

Once fish is delivered to retailers, HoweIce® is used for merchandising displays. The vibrant white color of our ice is perfect for any display. In addition, retailers can present their product in the best light while avoiding damage or puncturing fish through firm, yet gentle cooling methods.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can use our flake ice in the commercial fishing and retail process.