Approval sought for carp virus


A COALITION of industry and environment groups have come together to call on State and Federal governments to take action against Australia’s worst freshwater aquatic pest, the European carp.

Carp currently make up more than 80% of fish biomass in the Murray-Darling Basin and this has been a significant reason that over half of our native fish species in the Murray-Darling Basin have been listed as vulnerable or threatened with extinction.

Australian’s deep concern about the threat carp pose to our environment has been the catalyst for this unique alliance comprising the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Invasive Species Council, National Farmers’ Federation and the National Irrigator’s Council.

Jonathan La Nauze, acting campaigns director for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said “we are united in calling for clearer, healthier waterways and fish communities. Australia now has a once in a generation opportunity to achieve this through broad-scale biological control using a naturally occurring virus that is specific to common carp”.

Managing director of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Allan Hansard said “CSIRO research has shown that there is a tremendous opportunity to transform our rivers and recreational fisheries through the biological control of carp. Their testing has confirmed that the carp virus is specific to carp, and will kill 70-100% of carp in a short time frame under optimal conditions”.

CEO of the National Irrigators Council, Tom Chesson said “It’s important that the focus should not solely be on the delivery of environmental water. We need to undertake additional activities if we are to achieve meaningful long-term rehabilitation of our waterways and fish stocks”.

These opinions were echoed by other members of the alliance.

Managing Director of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Mr Allan Hansard said “the benefits are clear. Research has revealed that around five million Australians fish recreationally, and that fishing is worth billions to the Australian economy. Carp impact significantly on a number of the species that recreational fishers love to catch. Quite a modest investment in Australia’s carp bio-control program could deliver transformational change, environmentally and economically”.

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