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Invasive Asian Carp in Illinois rebranded as "Copi"

A bighead Asian carp.
David Schaper, NPR
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A bighead Asian carp.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources launched their campaign to rebrand Asian Carp today. It's part of an effort to keep the fish out of the Great Lakes.

Asian Carp is an invasive fish that has been a nuisance in Midwestern states for decades. In recent years, it's slowly inched its way up the Illinois River and closer to Lake Michigan.

In an effort to slow or even halt their approach, the IDNR is rebranding Asian Carp as "Copi" to encourage the public to eat the fish.

They believe creating a consumer market for carp will result in more fishing and help reduce carp populations in overcrowded rivers.

Kevin Irons is a biologist with the DNR. He hopes people see this as a new opportunity to expand their diets with a cheap, environmentally sustainable protein. "So this is an untapped resource... We just went through a pandemic where protein and food shortages were real. Thsi will be an affordable, responsibly sourced, green choice."

Even though this has been in the works since 2020, Irons says this is just the beginning of a campaign to rebrand the fish that will stretch all the way into 2024.