Key data collected in fight against carp

By Jamie Salter

The Carp Biomass Project has produced key information to control carp in a collaboration with scientists and government agencies across Australia.

The findings will help Australians to combat carp, one of the world’s most destructive pests.

This was the first time an estimate has been made of carp biomass across the continent which will be used to guide the best approaches to control carp.

Project leader Jarod Lyon, from the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research in Victoria, said the findings helped to understand how to respond.

“It has brought together a wealth of information — fish survey data from over 150 studies and 4831 sites, across 24 years,” Dr Lyon said.

The national estimate of carp biomass for May 2018 was 205 744 tonnes, with a lower and upper limit of 117 532 and 356 482 tonnes respectively.

Carp biomass will vary significantly between years depending on how wet conditions are.

The project estimated carp biomass in a range of environments from individual wetlands to large river reaches.

“This work has provided us with a key understanding of how this highly adaptable pest can respond to different environmental conditions,” Dr Lyon said.

A national map marked the sites where carp biomass was high enough to cause significant environmental damage.

The biomass project combined science, existing survey information and confirmed carp biomass estimates through field experiments.

This research project will form an essential part of the National Carp Control Plan, a $10.2 million program led by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

The National Carp Control Plan will address the questions of weather the carp herpes virus could be used to control carp and what the most effective way of doing so would be.

The National Carp Control Plan will be delivered to the government in December.