The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently decided to change the name of the invasive fish found in local waters.
The goal of IDNR is to help keep these invasive fish out of Lake Michigan.
If you haven’t already guessed, the fish was formerly known as the Asian carp.
Both the Mississippi and Illinois rivers are loaded with this fish. It is estimated that 20 to 50 million pounds of these fish can be harvested each year from the Illinois River alone.
Yes, this fish in abundance. This is abundant. So this fish, formerly the Asian carp, is now called the Copi.
The idea is that by changing the name, more people will be interested in eating it, which will help lower the numbers and possibly protect Lake Michigan from the invasion of this fish.
Kobe first made his way into Illinois waters in 1985, in the lower Illinois River.
These fish gained a reputation for jumping out of the water when the water was disturbed by noises such as boat engines.
Reports that people were injured in waterways by these jumping fish while out in boats soon led to recommendations to wear protective headgear while out on some waterways.
In the end, someone came up with the idea to turn the jumping fish and the hoodie into their own sport.
This writer saw people dressed as medieval knights and their swords on the bow of a boat, making their way across the water. Some spent time wearing a football helmet and using a baseball bat heavily.
There are also people who fish with fishing gear. Still others simply use a net to catch jumping fish as they fly out of the water.
Even in the early days of fish invasion, there were some people who actually ate this fish after it was caught. What they discovered is that Cuban tastes nothing like traditional carp at all.
A woman in the Quad Cities had been running a catering business for years and decided to market this delicious fish as an appetizer she called “fish balls”. The delicious pollen came in several different spices and was very tasty. Its creation attracted the attention of overseas investors and suddenly had a popular marketable product!
Others have since discovered that the kobe is a delicious, crusty white fish. Personally, I would compare it to trout.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone started creating gourmet cuisine from Copi and now they can be found in many locations across the state and in many forms; Po’boy sandwiches, sliders and bolognese.
Cuban is now available fried, smoked, like sushi and dim sum. Even Copi strips and Copi tacos are served.
So if you can’t beat them – eat them! I hope this delicious white fish will be served locally in restaurants soon.