Why We Could Soon See A New Fish On The Market

Some people enjoy discovering new foods, whether they're enticed by an exotic ingredient or a culinary innovation that produces a newfangled flavor.  But, getting people to take that first bite can be about perception. Although many people might enjoy a kiwi in their fruit salad, some people might be less likely to have picked a Chinese gooseberry. It is the same food, but one description is more appetizing than the other. With fish, the right name can hook a consumer.

While the old saying about teaching a man to fish might be cliche, how and why fish arrives on the plate matters. The Smithsonian discusses sustainable fishing, the ecological impact, and how perception matters in the world of food. For example, the Patagonian toothfish brings images of a scary creature ready to bite back — even if it's on your plate delicately flavored with Thyme – but, a delectable plate of Chilean Sea Bass can have top billing on a menu. The thing is, they're both exactly the same fish — but the name matters. As chefs and consumers become more familiar with fishing practices and how to utilize certain species, there can be a wider net cast. In Illinois, a more enticing name hopes to have people jumping at the chance to cook a new fish on the market.

Will Copi hook consumers craving a new fish recipe?

The Friday night fish fry might be a Midwest staple, but the walleye could be replaced on the menu with a different fish called, Copi. If that name sounds unfamiliar, the former monicker might ring a bell. Illinois is looking to rebrand the invasive Asian Carp with a more enticing name and hopefully, find a new purpose for the fish that has taken over the waterways. While ChooseCopi describes the protein as "healthy, delicious, and responsibly sourced wild-caught fish," consumers have yet to catch onto the concept. Although other underutilized fish, like orange roughy, benefited from a name change, it remains to be seen if the Asian carp will fly out of the water and onto our plates.

As Colleen Callahan, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director, told NBC Chicago, "It's a tasty fish that's easy to work with in the kitchen and it plates beautifully. Every time we've offered samples during the Illinois State Fair, people have walked away floored by how delicious it is." Even Chef Brian Jupiter told Food and Wine that Copi lends itself to cooking creativity. From tacos to fish cakes, recipe options are many. Whether or not copi becomes the next fish special on the menu remains to be seen, but that name does sound more appealing than a plate of carp.