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Immediate action needed on European Carp invasion before it’s too late

The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) today called for the Government to take immediate action to control European carp from our waterways. The call comes in the light of growing concerns that climate change could be aiding European carp to spread further thoughout Australian rivers and coastal estuary systems.

ARFF Managing Director, Allan Hansard said that “Carp are Australia’s worst established freshwater aquatic pest. They rival the crown of thorns starfish as an environmental threat and in their ability to destruct our unique aquatic ecosystems.”

“Scientists have revealed that Carp and other invasive fish species now make up to 80% of the fish biomass in the Murray-Darling, and up to 93% in some areas. . We know carp are part of the reason why our native species like the iconic Murray cod and Yellowbelly are struggling in many parts of the system, and in other parts, they have disappeared completely.”

“Scientists haven’t been able to confirm our suspicions but we think that the warming effect of climate change on our river systems is increasing the ability of carp to adapt and populate colder water river systems and even estuary systems. Recreational fishers are reporting catching carp where they previously haven’t been caught, including our coldwater rivers and even our saltwater estuaries. “

“Governments need to act now to stop the invasion of carp in our waterways as the current set of tools such as electrofishing, netting and cage trapping have proven ineffective. Our concerns are that if left unchecked carp will continue to dominate our inland and estuary waterways and our iconic native fish species will continue to struggle or could even become a thing of the past in many inland rivers.”

“We understand the Federal Government in partnership with the State and Territory governments are considering a multi pronged attack on the carp invasion, including the release of a carp specific herpes virus to biologically control the carp as well as an extensive native fish rehabilitation program that will give our native species a fighting chance against the carp and an opportunity to repopulate our inland river systems.”

“This is an opportunity for the Government to address one of our greatest environmental threats and help restore the health our unique inland waterways. It would be great to see our inland rivers again running clearer and abounding with native fish species. This would be a tremendous environmental legacy for future generations.”

“We urge the Government to get moving on these measures before it is too late.”Mr Hansard concluded.

ENDS

For more information:
Nicholle Smith
Mob: 0427 267 545
Email: enquiries @recreationalfishing.com.au