Asian Carp Gets a New Name, "Kentucky Tuna"

In the United States, Asian carp is an invasive species, i.e. not native. And when you abruptly introduce a foreign species – either plant or animal – into a existing ecosystem it usually wreaks havoc.

And the Asian carp is doing just that.

The fish is thriving in places like Kentucky and Illinois, so fishermen looking to catch catfish end up snagging more carp than catfish, which wouldn’t be a problem if it was easy to sell.

Asian carp’s reputation as a foreign invader is a turnoff to consumers.

So Kentucky State University has a brilliant – or totally idiotic – idea. Last night, Stephen Colbert reported that researchers from the university want to rename Asian carp, changing it to “Kentucky Tuna.” They hope the name change will be the public relations bump Asian carp needs.

I’m still cracking up over “Street Veal” and “Sink Lobster” – freaking hilarious!

If you’re wondering why a potentially destructive species was brought to the U.S. in the first place, it was done with good intentions…I guess. Carp were introduced in order to clean up algae in catfish ponds. Carp are bottom feeders.

And actually it’s because carp eat the junk at the bottom of ponds that might be their saving grace, not the silly name change; consuming algae means “Kentucky Tuna” is low in mercury and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Image credit: Colbert Nation

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  • got mercury  July 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

    An excellent tool to gauge how much potential mercury is in the fish you are eating is the free on-line calculator found at

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