National Carp Control Plan meetings in Wangaratta, Wodonga get into virus impact issues

Border and North East water users are concerned about what happens to the thousands of tonnes of dead carp after the proposed carp herpes virus is released in our waterways.

National Carp Control Plan coordinator Matt Barwick said people wanted to know not only when the clean up would happen but also who would be responsible for it.

Mr Barwick met with concerned residents at carp community briefing sessions in Wangaratta on Wednesday and Wodonga on Thursday.

“I think most of the questions people have are around how the clean up can be done safely and effectively,” Mr Barwick said.

“We went through the research that we’ve undertaken to help inform the clean-up strategy that we’re developing.

“Curtin University is leading some research to look at all the options for use of the biomass to minimize the number of carp that need to be disposed of.

“It is a fantastic resource, an enormous amount of fish protein. We need to work out how to use that to best effect.”

We definitely need to consider biological control carefully but we also need to acknowledge it is an expensive thing to do nothing

Matt Barwick, National Carp Control Coordinator

The NCCP is investigating ways to control carp centered on the use of a species-specific virus known as Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (the carp herpes virus) as a biocontrol agent, and to ensure that risks associated with its potential use are identified and mitigated. 

Some landholders are seeing metres of riverbank erosion, which they believe has been exacerbated by carp.

They told the meeting the cost of doing nothing needed to be considered.

“I think that’s an important point to acknowledge,” Mr Barwick said.

“We definitely need to consider biological control carefully but we also need to acknowledge it is an expensive thing to do nothing.”

The meetings, hosted by the NCCP, Murray Local Land Services and North East Catchment Management Authority, were among more than 80 briefing sessions being held in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, ACT, Queensland and Western Australia between now and February 2018.

The $15 million initiative would provide detailed information which will be presented to the government by the end of 2018.

Government would make the final decision on what course to take.