Com­mu­nity crack­down on our carp cri­sis

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

RECRE­ATIONAL AN­GLERS, na­ture lovers, farm­ers and wa­ter­way users are be­ing in­vited to a se­ries of com­mu­nity meet­ings in Vic­to­ria this month and Novem­ber to hear about the Vic­to­rian Fish­eries Au­thor­ity’s plans to re­duce carp num­bers and the de­vel­op­ment of the na­tional carp con­trol plan.

The pub­lic meet­ing will be held in Echuca from 6pm to 8pm on Novem­ber 16 at the Mer­cure, Port of Echuca, 465 High St.

State di­rec­tor of the plan, Craig In­gram, said carp were an un­wanted pest in our lakes and rivers and re­duce wa­ter qual­ity, ad­versely im­pact­ing our na­tive aquatic ecosys­tems.

They can cost the econ­omy as much as $500 mil­lion per an­num.

“In 2016, the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment an­nounced $15 mil­lion over two and a half years to de­velop the plan that will in­clude ex­plor­ing the re­lease of a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring, species-spe­cific carp her­pes virus as a bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol agent,” Mr In­gram said.

“Com­mon carp were in­tro­duced to Vic­to­ria in 1859 and are now the dom­i­nant species in many wa­ter­ways, hav­ing a ma­jor im­pact on the health of them and our na­tive fish pop­u­la­tions.”

The team de­vel­op­ing the plan is now em­bark­ing on a large pro­gram of sci­en­tific re­search and pub­lic meet­ings across carp af­fected ar­eas to:

■ ad­dress knowl­edge gaps, and bet­ter un­der­stand and man­age risks to sup­port the po­ten­tial re­lease of the carp virus, sub­se­quent clean-up and re­cov­ery of na­tive fish and ecosys­tems; ■ plan for an in­te­grated ap­proach to con­trol carp in Aus­tralia’s wa­ter­ways;

■ build com­mu­nity aware­ness for the pro­posal to re­lease the virus and ad­dress com­mu­nity con­cerns;

■ de­velop strate­gies for re­lease of the virus and sub­se­quent clean-up; and

■ sup­port na­tional co­or­di­na­tion on all el­e­ments of the plan’s de­vel­op­ment.

At the end of 2018 a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion on the best way to con­trol carp im­pacts in Aus­tralia will be made in a doc­u­ment called The Na­tional Carp Con­trol Plan.

■ For more in­for­ma­tion about the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s role and com­mu­nity meet­ings con­tact craig.in­gram@vfa.gov.au or phone 9658 4737 or visit www.vfa.vic.gov.au/carp­plan

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