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State of Illinois unveils new brand, name for Asian carp

The IDNR announced the name "Copi," which is a play on the word "copious." (Photo by Alex Garcia)
The IDNR announced the name "Copi," which is a play on the word "copious." (Photo by Alex Garcia)(Alex Garcia)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 12:16 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The State of Illinois unveiled its new name and brand for Asian carp.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced a new name and brand for Asian carp. (Source: IDNR)

According to a release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the new name “Copi” comes after two years of consumer research and planning.

The name is a play on “copious.” According to IDNR, 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.

They said the new name and brand are designed to address public misconceptions about the fish, which is overrunning Midwest waterways.

“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.”

As part of the launch on Wednesday, 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.

A PoBoy sandwich made by Chef Jupiter using Copi.
A PoBoy sandwich made by Chef Jupiter using Copi.(Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

“Copi is more savory than tilapia, cleaner tasting than catfish, and firmer than cod,” said “Chopped” champion and chef Brian Jupiter, who revealed the new name and will serve Copi at his Ina Mae Tavern in Chicago. “It’s the perfect canvas for creativity – pan fried, steamed, broiled, baked, roasted or grilled. Copi can be ground for burgers, fish cakes, dumplings and tacos.”

Copi burgers. (Photo by Alex Garcia)
Copi burgers. (Photo by Alex Garcia)(Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

You can find a list of recommended recipes using Copi at ChooseCopi.com.

In the Heartland, you can buy Copi at the following locations:

  • Cristaudo’s in Carbondale
  • The Meat Shoppe in Union City, Tenn. - Copi strips

Chefs and grocers can buy Copi from the following processors, manufacturers and distributors:

  • Kencor Ethnic Foods in Canton, Ill. (processor, manufacturer of Copi bouillon)
  • River Sun Group in Chicago (processor, manufacturer of Copi cakes)
  • Schafer Fisheries in Thomson, Ill. (processor)
  • Third Generation SFD in Bronx, N.Y. (distributor, Fulton Fish Market)
  • Seafood Merchants in Vernon Hills, Ill. (distributor for Illinois, Wisconsin)
  • Sorce Freshwater/Midwest Fish Co-Op in East Peoria, Ill. (processor)
  • Supreme Lobster in Villa Park, Ill. (distributor for Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin; possible air shipment nationally)
  • Susie Q Fish Company in Two Rivers, Wis. (processor and retail)
  • Two Rivers Fisheries in Wyckliffe, Ky. (processor)
  • Chippin in Silver Springs, Md. (distributor)
  • North American Caviar in Paris, Tenn. (processor)
  • Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Bensenville, Ill. (distributor for, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nebraska, Louisiana and Texas)
  • Gordon Food Service in Grand Rapids, Mich. (distributor, nationwide)
  • Freshwater Fish Products in Bradford, Ark. (processor)

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

When sold in grocery stores, IDNR says the packaging will describe the fish as carp and Copi until federal regulators approve the name change. The state also has applied to register the trademark so that industry groups will be able to develop standards and ensure quality control.

According to IDNR, Copi were 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

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