Carp – one of the world’s most invasive fish species is degrading vast swathes of Australia’s natural waterways – has a weakness, and the release of the National Carp Control Plan’s (NCCP) Strategic Research and Technology Plan is looking at how we can best exploit it.
Matt Barwick, who is coordinating development of the Plan said the community response has been overwhelmingly supportive. People want to see carp numbers reduced and our native fish recover to once again dominate our unique freshwater ecosystems.
“Whilst the Australian community are generally in favour of controlling carp impacts through biocontrol, people also have questions about how we might go about it safely and effectively. People are asking what can be done to manage water quality following possible virus release, and how carp might be used or disposed of after removal. These questions form the basis of the Strategic Research and Technology Plan.”
This plan – which you can download here – is the blueprint for how we will now partner with communities, government agencies, research institutions and universities around Australia to deliver robust science to inform decision-making on how to go forward with carp control in Australia at the end of next year.
Mr Barwick said the latest available health checkup for the Murray-Darling Basin confirms carp biomass levels still eclipse our native fish.
“Recent natural floods in the Murray-Darling Basin have been a mixed blessing for the Basin, delivering drought breaking rains to many regions whilst also stimulating one of the biggest carp spawning events in recent times. People are telling us they are seeing carp in unprecedented numbers. This is a big problem that we need to fix as a nation, and we are working out how.
“Carp suck, and in doing so they muddy the waters, killing aquatic plants, impacting on aquatic bugs, and exacerbating harmful blue-green algal blooms.
“Carp are also resourcehogs, stealing nutrients and habitat from our native fish, and their impacts now extend far beyond the Murray-Darling Basin,” Mr Barwick said.
“We also continue to hear reports of new infestations. Only last week a new incursion of ornamental Koi carp – the same species plaguing our rivers – was reported in Lake Gwelup, Western Australia.
WA Fisheries are reminding people ‘don’t dump that fish’ as introduced fish are environmentally damaging.
The $15 million being invested by the Australian Government is being used to coordinate a program of research and public consultation to inform a plan for the control of these mud-sucking monsters in Australia.
Mr Barwick said researchers are currently being engaged so work can begin.
To find out more about the National Carp Control Plan research program visit the website: www.carp.gov.au