Lakes overrun with carp

LAKE Wellington is overrun with carp because of a major spawning, with local rivers teeming with the invasive pests.

The spawning has prompted National Carp Control Plan staff to visit the area to look at the extent of the problem.

Carp control plan national coordinator Matt Barwick said the warmer water and still conditions were perfect for carp to thrive, and this latest carp outbreak reinforced the need for action to get Australia’s significant carp problem under control. 

“Carp outbreaks such as this have been shown to affect irrigation systems of local landholders, by blocking their supply of water,  not to mention all of the other destructive impacts carp have, including negatively impacting water quality and aquatic biodiversity,” Mr Barwick said. 

The National Carp Control Plan is assessing potential use of a species-specific carp virus, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3, as a biocontrol agent for carp in Australia. 

Research, planning, and consultation under the plan will aim to ensure that risks associated with carp biocontrol are understood, and mitigation measures identified. 

Operating through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, the $15 million carp plan will provide a detailed strategy to the Australian government, which will make a decision regarding release of the carp virus as a biocontrol agent late next year. 

Mr Barwick said carp control plan staff   were speaking with people in affected with regions, and encouraged people who noticed  dramatic shifts in carp populations to notify them. 

“We want to work collaboratively with the local community, as healthy river systems and waterways result in healthier communities,” he said.

“We want to understand the ecological values of the affected river systems and waterways and work together to help solve the carp problem.” 

Carp can seriously modify waterways as they suck up mud, and have a major effect on other aquatic life.

They stir up silt and muddy the water, blocking sunlight to aquatic vegetation,  affecting plankton, aquatic invertebrates, waterbirds and native fish.