Federal government approves nationwide herpes plan for carp


THE Australian Government will launch a nationally coordinated approach to eradicating Australia’s worst freshwater aquatic pest, the common carp, through a $15 million National Carp Control Plan contained in this year’s budget.

The funding will be used to develop a comprehensive national community based plan aimed at controlling and possibly eradicating the European carp from Australian waterways, with the potential release of a carp control virus by the end of 2018.

A joint ministerial taskforce will finalise the national plan and includes the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce and the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt.

Minster Pyne said the $15 million plan would be designed in conjunction with state and territory governments to maximise the impact of biological controls on carp populations while minimising disruption to industries, communities and the environment.

“The common carp is a nasty pest in our waterways and makes up 80 per cent of fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin. Anyone who loves the Murray knows what damage the carp have caused to the river environment over many years,” Pyne said.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the economic impact of carp is estimated at up to $500 million a year, mostly in regional Australia, and especially along the Murray River.

“Carp are a serious problem, in particular along the Murray River, and current control measures, including trapping, commercial fishing and exclusion, are expensive and largely ineffective at controlling carp over large areas or for any length of time,” Joyce said.

The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) have also applauded the Federal Government on its decision to develop a National Carp Control Plan.

Managing Director of the ARFF, Allan Hansard said the Government’s announcement of the national carp plan is an essential first step in addressing Australia’s worst established freshwater aquatic pest.

“We are pleased the Government has listened to our calls to address this issue and have committed to comprehensively fighting this pest and winning back our unique inland river systems for our native fish, other aquatic species and for future generations of Australians,” Hansard said.

“We are also pleased that the Government realises that the National plan should not only address how to control and remove carp but how to replace them with our native fish species and also restore the health of our aquatic ecosystems. We see this as essential to a long term solution to the problem.”

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