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.

National Carp Control Plan

On 1 May 2016, the Australian Government announced $15.2 million in funding to investigate the feasibility of the cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (carp virus) as a biological control agent for common carp to improve water quality in waterways across Australia. Of this funding, $10.4 million was allocated to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) to undertake a feasibility assessment, referred to as the National Carp Control Plan (NCCP).

The NCCP is the largest feasibility assessment of a biological control agent undertaken in Australia, taking over six years, involving 11 national and international research institutions and over 40 research scientists.

National Carp Control Plan final report and technical papers

National Carp Control Plan | FRDC

National Carp Control Plan Next Steps

National Carp Control Plan – DAFF (

Watch this Meet the Ferals episode on European carp to learn more.

Case Studies