We have drug czars, energy czars, actual Russian czars (well, we used to), and — perhaps a sign that we maybe need a nomenclature czar — we now have an Asian carp czar. Yesterday The White House announced that a former leader of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Wildlife Federation would become the first “Asian carp czar.” John Goss will oversee the near $80 million federal response to the Asian carp, a particularly invasive species that is threatening the Great Lakes.
The fish were imported in the 1970s to help water treatment facilities in the South keep their retention ponds clean. With no natural predators here, the carp have steadily moved toward Chicago in the past few decades, presenting an enormous challenge for scientists and fish biologists. Thus a fish czar. The Bolsheviks may have been the ones to overthrow the monarchy in Russia, but our government is doing a pretty good job of making sure that the term is now not only atavistic — the use of the word as a political term dates to around World War 1 — but completely ridiculous. Let's hope that Goss has better luck with the fish.