CHICAGO, June 22 (Xinhua) — The Department of Natural Resources in U.S. state of Illinois has changed the name of Asian Carp to Copi, and hosted a Copi tasting party on Wednesday in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago to officially announce the new name.
On a long table there are steamed whole fish, braised whole fish, fish meat ball, fried fish meat cake, and fish dumpling for visitors to taste.
Asian carp is “an invasive species here in the United States. People take that under a negative connotation, and we wanna make sure that the name Asian is not taken in a negative way,” Ted Penesis, director of Community Outreach of Illinois Department of Natural Resources, told Xinhua.
“(Here) we have a name that’s appropriate, that’s not gonna be causing any problem,” Penesis said.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources is in the lead for the change of the name, Penesis said, but it has worked with a consortium of approximately 27 different governmental entities in signing off on it in both Canada and the United States.
There is the precedent to change the name of fish for the purpose of promotion, Penesis told Xinhua, giving the example of patagonia toothfish having name changed to Chilean sea bass. “We’re looking at developing a food market with a name that is catchy, a name that is not negative.”
Copi is not common carp. “It’s actually not a bottom feeder, it’s a top level filter feeder, so it’s very healthy and very tasty,” he stressed.
In the 1970s, the United States imported the Asian carp to resolve the problem of plankton. In early 1990s, the fish got into the Mississippi River and since then they have expanded and multiplied rapidly.
Copi now takes up 70 percent or more of the fish in rivers in the Great Lakes area, Penesis said. “So we need a new strategy… Once people try it, you know how tasty it is.”
As Copi is big in size, “they are having negative impact to our native species,” added Brian Schoenung, species program manager of Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who is in charge of the Copi management program.
“These fish exist throughout the Mississippi River system, the misery river system,” Schoenung said. “From a management stand point, we look to address these population by keeping them out of places where they currently don’t exist such as the Great Lakes and then trying to control the population numbers where they do exist.”
Fishing the population down is one of the options. Schoenung holds that if market demand for the fish increases, the market value for this wonderful resource of Copi can be utilized to create jobs.
While commercial fishing is a valuable tool in managing Copi population, the department has employed different tactic to keep the population at a reasonable level, Schoenung said. “Maybe there’s something that allows us to be a little bit more effective than that. But right now, getting the fish out of water is probably the most effective tool that we have to manage population.”