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October 26, 2021
The invasive Asian carp species will be renamed due to the term’s ‘horrible, xenophobic connotations’ in the wake of a new focus on anti-Asian hate crimes.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has now joined state agencies in Minnesota in referring to the species as ‘invasive carp’, despite critics ridiculing the move as misplaced political correctness. Officials claimed that calling the fish ‘Asian’ and advocating their culling had xenophobic connotations – but the move sparked mockery on Twitter where users pointed out that the term referred to where the fish were originally imported from.
Grass, bighead, silver and black carp have been commonly known as “Asian” carp since the 1970s, when they were brought to the US as a biological control for plants, algae and snails in certain circumstances, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. But a few of those fish managed to escape those contained systems, and established themselves in the Mississippi River — eventually expanding into the Ohio, Missouri and Illinois rivers.
Calling these invasive fishes “Asian,” and then promoting efforts to control their population, has xenophobic connotations, officials said. “This could be referring to Asian people as being an invasive species, which is just a horrible connotation,” said Charlie Wooley, the regional director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the Midwest region, where these fish are often found.
In January, President Biden signed an executive order acknowledging the harm the Asian American and Pacific Islander community faced, while also encouraging the Department of Health and Human Services to exercise sensitivity toward those communities, according to a senior administration official.
Though Biden’s directive did not mention the carp issue at all, Wooley said, the move was a “driver” for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Along with the increased attacks on Asian communities — notably the Atlanta shooting in March — there was pressure to act quickly. “I looked at that and thought, ‘We need to start to get away from referring to Asian carp,'” he told CNN. “We felt we had a role here.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT