Cleaning out carp will give Australia’s native fish and rivers a fighting chance

Media Release |
A range of measures will be needed to help native fish recover after carp numbers fall. Photo: Marc Ainsworth
A range of measures will be needed to help native fish recover after carp numbers fall. Photo: Marc Ainsworth

The $15 million earmarked in the 2016 federal budget to eradicate carp from Australia’s river systems will give native fish and freshwater ecosystems a fighting chance.

“Carp are a highly adaptive fish species introduced into Australia more than 100 years ago that have had long-term, highly destructive impacts on our river systems,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“The announcement that this year’s federal budget will include a $15 million National Carp Control Plan will give Australia’s rivers and native freshwater fish a fighting chance against the proliferation of invasive carp.”

The plan includes the staged release of a carp control virus developed by the CSIRO with the support of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre that kills carp only, leaving other fish unscathed.

“Clearing carp out of our waterways will be the first step in bringing our rivers back to life,” Mr Cox said.

“Once the carp-killing virus has been released into our waterways we can rebuild healthy rivers by restocking them with native fish and replanting river edges to help freshwater ecosystems recover from years of carp infestations.

“We congratulate the federal government for properly backing the carp release. This new funding supports the clean-up operation and kick-starts the recovery of damaged rivers.”

Carp have increased pressures on native fish. They make water turbid, cause erosion and outcompete native fish for food and resources.

In some areas of the Murray-Darling Basin carp make up more than 80 per cent of the fish biomass.

“We will not be sorry to see carp numbers decline once the virus is released in about three years time, after clearing regulatory hurdles,” Mr Cox said.

  • For comment contact Andrew Cox on 0438 588 040.

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