National Carp Control Plan
The Australian Government is embarking on a revolutionary, long-term plan to reduce the impacts on our waterways of one of the country’s most devastating pests - common carp.
How carp are hurting the country
Carp (Cyprinus carpio also referred to as common carp) are one of the worst introduced pest species in Australia. They have significant social, environmental and economic impacts.
Carp have major negative impact on water quality and the amenity value of our freshwater rivers and lakes. This affects all water users, including irrigators and regional communities. Carp also have a devastating impact on biodiversity, and have decimated native fish populations in many areas since they first became established as a major pest in the wild in the 1960s. Carp dominate the Murray Darling Basin, making up to 80-90 per cent of the fish biomass.
National Carp Control Plan
On 1 May 2016, the government announced $15 million in funding for the development and potential implementation of the National Carp Control Plan (the plan). The plan, which is being developed by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), will determine the feasibility of using Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (carp virus) as a biological control agent for common carp in Australia.
Considerable work is required before a release of the carp virus could occur. Once the plan has been completed, it will be one of a number of inputs to government decision-making on whether to release the carp virus. In addition to the plan, work that will need to be undertaken will include:
- consulting publicly on the plan;
- working through legislative approvals processes, primarily the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Biological Control Act 1984, Biosecurity Act 2015 and a range of approvals under various state and territory legislation;
- undertaking implementation planning;
- undertaking some additional research into the production of the carp virus for approval under the Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994.
- The plan, together with the outcomes of this additional work, will inform the Australian and state and territory governments on whether to progress toward a potential release of the carp virus.
In terms of its nature and scale, this proposal is unprecedented in Australia, and we will need to work across portfolios and governments, in partnership with communities, to ensure that we get it right.
The plan will focus on maximising the reduction of carp populations while minimising disruption to industries, communities and the environment should a carp virus release go ahead.
The carp virus is a naturally occurring strain of carp herpesvirus, which has been found in over 30 countries around the world.
Extensive evidence, including testing of Australian species by CSIRO, indicates that the carp virus is specific to common carp, and doesn't cause disease in other species of fish (including native Australian fish) or in other animals that are exposed to the virus, including humans.
Testing conducted by the CSIRO, through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, has found that under optimal conditions the carp virus will kill up to 95 per cent of infected carp.
The FRDC has undertaken extensive consultation during the development of the plan. Australians will be given an opportunity to have their say on the proposal through a formal consultation process should governments decide to proceed further toward a potential release of the carp virus.
Find out more
More information can be found at www.carp.gov.au.