The Minnesota Senate has approved legislation that would change the name of the invasive species Asian carp, a name some consider offensive.
The Senate on Monday OK'd a measure that would rename the fish as "invasive carp," the Associated Press reports, and senators pushed the legislation downstream to the House. The measure was part of a broader bill related to state use of natural resources, which the House had approved without the fish name change.
State Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, is among the lawmakers who have said that referring to the widely maligned fish as "Asian" was hurtful to some people.
“Caucasians brought them to America. Should we call them ‘Caucasian carp?’ They have names,” Hoffman said last month. “Let’s call them what they are.”
Minnesota environmental officials are locked in a battle to halt the advance of the invasive species into the Mississippi River and Great Lakes ecosystems. Asian carp are considered a threat because they are voracious eaters, crowd out native species and reproduce quickly, the Environmental Protection Agency says.
The USGS, the Department of Natural Resources and other entities are trying to slow down the carp's move into Minnesota's lakes and rivers.
It was a troubling sign last month when scientists found evidence that Asian carp have spawned much farther north in the upper Mississippi River than previously recorded – near Lynxville, Wis., about 20 miles south of the Minnesota border, the Star Tribune reported.
That's 250 miles upstream from previously known reproducing populations, and the spawning would have occurred even farther upstream, the Associated Press noted.