You Might Have Eaten an Invasive Species

This article explores the invasion of Illinois' rivers by Copi/Asian Carp.


1/11/20233 min read


What would you say if you were told that something you just ate was actually something other than what you ordered? In the state of Illinois, the fish species known as the big head carp, the grass carp, the black carp, and the silver carp are invasive species from Asia. They have caused lots of damage to the ecosystem around them. In return, some creative people have come up with ideas on how to deal with the problem. These fish eat up to 40 or 50 percent of their body weight every day and make up 50 percent of the fish population in parts of Illinois’ rivers.

Prevention Ideas

The government has had previous ideas in the past, such as forcing anyone who catches the species to have to keep the fish, unable to release it. Now, however, the fish is being served in restaurants called Copi. Copi actually refers to the word copious, describing how much the population of these fish has spiked in recent years. In a way, this is incredibly smart. If you were asked if you want to try the invasive species of Asian carp, almost anyone would say no to it. However, what if you were asked if you wanted to try the fresh catch of the day with a semi-sweet, flakey consistency named Copi, would you say yes?


In reality, many people agree that Copi isn’t a bad fish to eat; that it has a bad reputation just because it's invasive. Some carp are bad to eat, such as common carp with their many pin-bones in their body and their horrible consistency, almost becoming mushy. However, the Asian carp are considered to be a better version of Tilapia, tasting great and containing lots of omega-three fatty acids, anything but what you would expect an invasive species to taste like.


Asian carp were originally imported to the U.S. from Asia to help aid with controlling grass and algae in ponds or lakes or fish breeding pens. The fish then escaped and spread like wildfire across the rivers and lakes in the United States. It took no time at all until these fish started to cause problems, but some people found out that they don’t only cause harm. Some private pond owners have decided to add fish such as grass carp to their ponds to control the algae and grass count without destroying the ecosystem. Some fishermen have even developed a tendency to like catching these fish due to their nature to be strong fighters.

Preventative Actions

The Government has taken very strong measures to halt the advancement of these fish to great lengths; setting up electric fences, fish identification, and noise-making contraptions are all pieces of its 600 million-dollar effort. If these fish do reach the Great Lakes, the Lakes could suffer, as seen in the past when the invasive zebra mussels took over Lake Michigan. These seemingly harmless crustaceans ended up destroying millions of habitats for fish hanging close to the shore, forcing them to move deeper into the waters.


To wrap up, Asian carp have overtaken the U.S. due to an error that could’ve been fixed. They have been leaving a wake of havoc everywhere they've traveled, destroying ecosystems by virtually eating all of the grass and algae. Many measures are being taken to try and prevent these fish from reaching the Great Lakes and to keep their population down. Making the "Copi" idea completely genius. It is a smart way of keeping down the carp population and raising awareness of the current situation. According to food critics, it tastes pretty good and could potentially become your favorite food.


Boyle, C. (2022, June 24). Invasive Asian carp is rebranded as delicious 'COPI' as officials try 'if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em' approach. Block Club Chicago. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from

Flesher, J. (2022, June 23). Would you eat invasive carp? what about 'copi'? | CBC news. CBCnews. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from

Hanchett, D. (2021, November 3). U.S. and Canada scrambling to prevent invasive carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Innovasea. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from

John Torchick, W. T. V. C. O. C. (2020, April 1). Asian carp are not the only alien invaders in Tennessee. WTVC. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from

Mortillaro, N. (2016, June 7). Asian carp: Why this invasive species is so dangerous to the Great Lakes. Global News. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from