Jun 24, 2022 - Food and Drink

Rebranding invasive carp ... again

An invasive carp
A bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

"Invasive carp" doesn't sound mouth watering. But how about copi?

Driving the news: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources launched a campaign Wednesday to rename the pestilent fish, according to Axios Chicago's Monica Eng.

  • They chose "copi" in part because of its copious numbers, but it's a name free of copyright issues and negative cultural connotations.
  • Until now, Illinois had still called them Asian carp. Minnesota changed their name to "invasive carp," in 2014 due to concerns that the moniker casts people from Asian cultures in a negative light.

Regardless of their name, the fish are highly destructive to lakes and rivers, consuming food that native fish need, including here in Minnesota.

  • The Illinois campaign is meant to get more people to eat the fish in hopes of reducing their population in the Illinois River and stopping them from reaching Lake Michigan, Eng writes.

Flashback: The Patagonian toothfish might not sound appetizing, but a fish wholesaler in 1977 rebranded them as "Chilean sea bass" to appeal to Americans.

Yes, but: There have been many efforts in both Minnesota and Illinois to get people to eat the bottom-feeding carp, but none of them have ever gained traction.

State of play: Invasive carp are creeping upstream on the Mississippi River.

  • A silver carp reached Lock & Dam No. 5 near Winona this spring. A University of Minnesota professor and team of engineers have a plan to stop the fish: a wall of bubbles and noise known as a "bioacoustic fish fence" that would cause the carp to retreat, according to the Star Tribune.
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