Invasive Asian Carp fish now called ‘Copi’, state officials say

State of Illinois renames and rebrands Asian carp
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:55 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - Following more than two years of consumer research and planning, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources unveils “Copi” as the new name for Asian Carp.

Copi ( are mild, clean-tasting fish with heart-healthy omega-3s and very low levels of mercury. Increased consumption will help to stop them from decimating other fish populations in the Great Lakes and restore an ecological balance to waterways downstream.

“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,” said John Goss, former White House invasive carp adviser. “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.”

The new name is a play on “copious” – as that’s exactly what these fish are. By one estimate, 20 million to 50 million pounds of Copi could be harvested from the Illinois River alone each year, with hundreds of millions more in waterways from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast.

As part of the launch, 21 chefs and retailers have committed to putting Copi on their menus or in their stores, and 14 processors, manufacturers and distributors are making Copi products available. Around our viewing area, you can purchase Copi at the following spots:

  • The Norwegian in Rockford
  • Schafer Fisheries Market in Fulton which will have a variety of Copi items

Illinois officials will apply to formally change the name with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year.

Copi was originally imported from Southeast Asia to the United States to help keep clean fish farm retention ponds in Southern states. But flooding and accidental releases in the 1970s allowed them to escape, multiply and migrate up the Mississippi River system.

Ever since, a collaboration of local, state, and federal government entities have worked to prevent the invasive species from entering Lake Michigan, which would threaten a $7 billion-a-year commercial fishing industry and a $16 billion-a-year tourism industry in the Great Lakes.

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