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Carp (Cyprinus carpio) originated in China and spread throughout Asia and Europe as an ornamental and aquaculture species.
Carp were released into the wild in Australia on a number of occasions in the 1800s and 1900s but did not become widespread until a release of ‘Boolara’ strain carp from a fish farm into the Murray River near Mildura in 1964. The spread of carp throughout the Murray-Darling Basin coincided with widespread flooding in the early 1970s, but carp were also introduced to new localities, possibly through their use as bait.
Introduced carp are now the most abundant large freshwater fish in the Murray-Darling Basin and are the dominant species in many fish communities in south-eastern Australia.
Watch this Meet the Ferals episode on European carp to learn more.