Have a say on carp

November 17, 2017

Anthony Conallin with a Murray cod uring recent research trip.

Research conducted so far on the release of the carp virus across Australia shows it will be of benefit to the Edward-Wakool and other river systems, according to carp expert and former local Anthony Conallin.

Mr Conallin, a land services officer with the Murray Local Land Services in Albury, says the pest fish can stifle the ecology of river systems.

He said their removal through the carp virus should allow water ecology to thrive.

Mr Conallin said the key to the eradication program working is for it to be done strategically — which is why a National Carp Control Plan is being developed.

An information and consultation session on the plan will be held in Deniliquin on Monday evening.

‘‘The virus is quite effective and can kill up to 90 per cent of carp it comes into contact with, within six days. We can therefore expect a large mass of dead fish if the virus is released.

‘‘We know that we only have about a two week window before carp break down too much to be removed effectively, so we need to have a plan in place.

‘‘The release of this virus depends on approval from the states, the Federal Government, the Environmental Protection Agencies and health services, and we need to be able to show them we can handle the clean up.

‘‘In 1997 a study revealed that we could expect to find one carp per square metre of surface area. National Carp Control project coordinator Matt Barwick believes that number has tripled since the break of the decade long drought.

‘‘Nothing we are doing now is effective, so this carp virus is an important step.’’

Mr Conallin said the plan must also allay any fears the carp virus and its effects will impact on people, animals and native fish and other aquatic life.

He said while some research is yet to be finalised before the control plan in completed at the end of next year, he said some has already been undertaken with positive results.

‘‘We have tested the virus on catfish — the closest relation of carp and still found in the Edward River — and have found it is not susceptible.

‘‘We have also tested it on Murray cod, silver perch and other emblem species found in the Deniliquin district and we’re quite confident it will not be passed on to native fish. We have also tested other aquatic life like turtles and even water rats.’’

Before Monday’s public meeting, the National Carp Control Plan team and Murray LLS will hold workshops with key stakeholders like councils, irrigators, tourism operators and river users.

The public meeting will then be held at the Deniliquin RSL Club from 6pm to 8pm.

Mr Conallin said it’s an opportunity for people to contribute feedback on the proposed plan and to ensure risks associated with carp biocontrol are identified and mitigated.

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