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‘Asian carp’ rebranded because tag is deemed offensive


The Asian carp is getting a new name from wildlife agencies who think the title is offensive — but some critics say the move is a solution fishing for a problem.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service rebranded the freshwater fish wreaking havoc in the Midwest as “invasive carp” in April.

“We wanted to move away from any terms that cast Asian culture and people in a negative light,” Charlie Wooley, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office for the service, told The Associated Press.

Minnesota long ago dropped the Asian carp label – which refers to four different species – and a group called the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee plans to do the same beginning Aug. 2.


News of the change drew some snarky responses on social media, with some noting the name referred to the fact the fish were brought to the US from China for pond maintenance before they spread to rivers.

“Black coffee is next,” one Twitter user said. “Chinese food, Mexican food, white lies, brown sugar, calling ships her.”

“1980: dungeons and dragons is going to turn the kids into Satanists,” another user said. “2021: Asian carp will turn the kids into racists.”

A bighead carp Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.
Minnesota had previously stopped using “Asian” in the fish’s name.
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

“The Name ‘Asian Carp’ Said to Cast Asian Culture and People in a Negative Light,” said another, quoting a news article, before adding, “(Among Those Who Can’t Distinguish Between People and Fish).”

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Minnesota had its own backlash when it changed the name in 2014, state Sen. Foung Hawj said.

“I had more hate mail than you could shake a stick at,” Hawj told the AP. He had decided “the last straw” before changing then name was when a group of visitors from Asia came to the Minneapolis airport and were greeted by a PSA sign that read “Kill Asian Carp.”

The race-free rebrand isn’t likely to settle the debate over what to call the different species. As a population control measure, the state of Illinois is planning a new name that will be appetizing for people selling and eating the fish, which is now mostly used as bait or pet food.

Carp jump from the Illinois river as scientists aboard a research boat activate an electric current to stun fish so they can be scooped up and examined near Havana, Ill.
Carp jump from the Illinois river as scientists aboard a research boat activate an electric current to stun fish so they can be scooped up and examined near Havana, Ill.
John Flesher, File/AP

A new name will be unveiled soon that won’t call to mind regular carp, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources told the AP.

“It’s a four-letter word in this country,” Assistant Fisheries Chief Kevin Irons said. It wouldn’t be the first food-based fish rebrand – the fish once known as the Patagonian toothfish is now on menus as Chilean sea bass, the AP noted.

Another invasive species, the Gypsy Moth, also recently got a woke rebrand from the Entomological Society of America because its name is considered an ethnic slur by some Romani people.

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Gypsy Moth caterpillars were surging in the upstate New York this year, leaving forests barren of leaves while raining poop into residential yards.

With Post wires.

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