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Authorities rename carp 'Copi' to make fish more palatable

Bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium.
Bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium.

Asian Carp will now be known as “Copi,” according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The IDNR said it's part of a push to rebrand the fish and encourage the public to eat more of the carp.

“Copi” refers to a group of invasive carp species that have been slowly making their way toward the Great Lakes over the last few decades. If they make it into Lake Michigan, the results could be disastrous for the Great Lakes’ ecosystem.

“Copi” is short for copious, as a reference to the overabundance of the fish in midwestern waterways.

Mass fishing and underwater barriers have helped push the carp back, but Kevin Irons, a biologist with the IDNR, said there’s much more to do.

“The job's not done. If there's 10% left, what can we do to minimize that? We're not gonna gamble with our Great Lakes, we're gonna do everything possible," he said.

Irons said he believes creating a consumer market for carp will result in more fishing and help reduce carp populations in overcrowded rivers. He said hopes people will see this as a new opportunity to expand their diets with a cheap, environmentally sustainable protein.

“So [Copi] is an untapped resource," Irons said. "We just went through a pandemic where protein and food shortages were real. This will be an affordable, responsibly sourced, green choice.”

Even though this has been in the works since 2020, Irons said the campaign to rebrand the fish that will stretch all the way into 2024.

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