How do you keep invasive Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes? Call them by a different name.
The state of Illinois is trying to rebrand the voracious invaders, to make them seem more palatable.
The term “Asian carp” includes several species, including bighead, grass and silver carp.
Illinois wants to call them “copi.” Officials say the name was inspired because the fish have become so “copious.”
Copious may be an understatement. In some waterways along the Mississippi River basin, Asian carp now constitute 70 percent of the fish population. There is concern that they could decimate the Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industries if they reach Lake Michigan.
But, Asian carp are edible. In many parts of the world, they’re a regular part of the diet. Unlike traditional American carp, the new species are not bottom feeders, and have a much better taste.
Illinois officials hope that the new name will make them a more attractive food and sport option in their own right. State officials hope to make formal application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.