The $15 million National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) recently hit a new milestone, delivering a key strategic plan to address the big questions in relation to carp control and launching an online one-stop-shop for stakeholders.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the NCCP’s Strategic Research and Technology Plan outlined the additional research and development needed to support the potential release of the carp herpes virus.
“The Strategic Plan will fund and focus the research needed to identify a smart, safe and effective suite of measures to control carp impacts through the release of a carp herpes virus and strategies for the clean-up,” Minister Joyce said.
“The NCCP, led by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), will be addressing community concerns about the program, consulting widely through a series of community engagement forums across regions affected by the invasive pest.
“The launch of a new website, www.carp.gov.au, will also form a key access point for stakeholders interested in the development of the NCCP, provide an avenue for feedback and to stay up-to-date with progress.
“The Coalition Government knows carp are a big problem, causing damage of up to $500 million per year, and the potential to reduce their numbers by over 70% would have dramatic benefits for water quality, fishing and irrigation right up and down the river system.”
Minister Ruston said the plan was progressing well and the prospect of controlling carp in the Murray had South Australian river communities in particular very excited.
“For decades, we’ve been watching the quality of the Murray’s water deteriorate and our many creeks, lagoons and wetlands become choked with this pest to the detriment of our native fish species as well as our irrigation and tourism industries,” Minister Ruston said.
“The 2017 SA Carp Frenzy this month saw around 500 fishers pull almost 17,000 carp out of Barmera’s Lake Bonney in just nine hours; this is just a snapshot of the scale of the problem we’re facing. Those carp are now being processed into fertiliser, a fitting end for such a noxious pest.
“Communities which have for many years worked to raise awareness of the carp infestation and the need to do something about it have strongly welcomed this initiative.
“If the infectiousness of this community enthusiasm is matched by the virus, the carp don’t stand a chance!”
The National Carp Control Plan will be completed in late 2018.
Common carp are present in all states and territories except the Northern Territory and are estimated to comprise 80-90 per cent of the total fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin (Environmental Protection Authority 2015).
The total biomass of carp in our waterways is estimated between 500,000 and 2 million tonnes.
The annual cost of carp in Australia is estimated at up to $500 million per year (report to the Murray Darling Basin Authority, 2010).
The Australian Government is investing $15 million over 2.5 years in the National Carp Control Plan.
The NCCP is led by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), and follows years of work to assess the use of the carp herpes virus by the CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.