Lt. Gov.: Name change could help make Asian carp more appealing

Asian carp population in Illinois continues to dwindle as fishermen are encouraged to catch the invasive species. (Photo courtesy Flickr)

By Illinois Radio Network

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is taking a new approach to solve an old problem: How to make Asian carp delicious, so that government doesn’t have to keep the fish’s population in check.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti says Asian carp tastes pretty good. She ate some a couple of weeks ago at the University of Illinois when she signed a new partnership with the state of Louisiana to build a market for the fish.

“We had a three-course meal, the first two consisting of Asian carp,” Sanguinetti said. “I’ll have you know that Asian carp was delicious. For me, it tasted pretty much like crab cakes.”

But while the fish is tasty, the name leaves a lot to be desired for many consumers.

“Calling them silver fin would be better,” Sanguinetti said. “I’ve always pushed for going to Spanish and calling them Carpa Asiatica. It sounds so much better in Spanish.”

The same strategy worked for the Patagonian toothfish, which is known better as Chilean sea bass.

Sanguinetti said, ultimately, that even without a delicious carp recipe, Illinois is winning the fight against Asian carp. The state has cut the fish’s population in half in the upper Illinois River over a decade, and has so far kept the carp out of the Great Lakes.

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