How do you use 10 tonnes of dead carp?
That’s the question Curtin University researchers want to answer as they investigate options for the sustainable use of carp biomass under the National Carp Control Plan.
The research project involves laboratory-based processing trials, as well as commercial-scale trials of processes that produce usable carp-based products including fertilisers, compost, fishmeal and aquaculture feed ingredients.
Lead researcher Janet Howieson, from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University, said the objective was to provide the NCCP with a range of efficient, effective and appropriate uses for carp biomass, and that all methods were being carefully explored.
‘‘The research is designed to deliver detailed cost-benefits analyses of the various carp utilisation processes being investigated including attention to harvest strategies, transport logistics and fish quality at various locations,’’ Dr Howieson said.
Researchers recently completed a commercial-scale trial in partnership with Goulburn Valley Water to separate two tonnes of dead carp into solids for local composting trials and liquids for further laboratory-based digestion trials looking at biogas production. Another 300kg of whole carp was sent to a nearby worm farm.
A large-scale composting trial is also being undertaken with carp biomass, with different composting methods and substrates being tested and monitoring and evaluation being conducted throughout the trial.
NCCP national co-ordinator Matt Barwick said identifying economically viable and productive uses for carp was an essential part of the NCCP’s clean-up strategy.
‘‘We know there are large volumes of carp in our waterways, so working out what to do with the carp biomass if biocontrol proceeds provides us with a measured approach to help inform NCCP recommendations and the subsequent decision-making process,’’ Mr Barwick said.