The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly renamed the Asian Carp to “invasive carp” due to concerns about racism, the Associated Press revealed in a Thursday report.
The carp was brought from Asia to North America in the 1970s to eat algae, parasites, and weeds in aquaculture ponds. The news agency reported, however, that the invasive species became a problem after natural flooding and inadvertent releases allowed the breed to escape into the Mississippi River and other waterways. Officials worry that the species could escape to the Great Lakes, jeopardizing their $7 billion sport fishery.
The service made the change in April.
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Charlie Wooley, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the outlet that the department wanted to “move away from any terms” that may “cast Asian culture and people in a negative light.”
Wooley added that the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee will follow suit as of Aug. 2.
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Foung Hawj told the Associated Press that he was “never a fan of the ‘Asian carp’ label,” and along with fellow Minnesota Democratic Sen. John Hoffman in 2014 were successfully able to change the name to “invasive carp” within Minnesota agencies.
Hawj told the news agency that he long had taken issue with the name, but “the last straw” came when a group of Asian visitors arrived at a Minneapolis airport only to be met with signs that read “Kill Asian Carp.”