Illinois DNR rebrands invasive carp as copi to make it more appealing to eat in order to control the fish population


Asian carp, native to China, was first introduced into the United States in the early 1960s and 70s as a method to control nuisance algal blooms. By the 1980s, the species had escaped aquaculture ponds and spread into local water bodies. Researchers fear an invasion of the Great Lakes would threaten its $7 billion fishing industry as the carps compete with native fish species for food.

Now, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other partners hope that the latest campaign will rebrand the fish’s well-known, infamous name into something people might want to have for dinner. The made-up name copi is short for “copious,” a nod to the massive swaths of invasive fish experts have fought to keep at bay for years.

John Goss, the former White House invasive carp adviser, said:

Enjoying Copi in a restaurant or at home is one of the easiest things people can do to help protect our waterways and Lake Michigan. As home to the largest continuous link between Lake Michigan and the Copi-filled Mississippi River system, Illinois has a unique responsibility in the battle to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. I’m proud of Illinois, its partners and other states for rising to this challenge.

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