Community set to discuss carp virus
Wimmera people will on Monday have a first-hand opportunity to gain greater understanding about a national plan to tackle noxious carp, including the potential introduction of a carp-specific virus.
A community briefing session on the subject will be at Horsham Town Hall between 6pm and 8pm.
The event is one of the first of more than 40 similar sessions in carp-affected communities across Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
National Carp Control Plan, NCCP, leaders have joined forces with state agencies and natural-resource management organisations to host the sessions.
Researchers are considering ways to control carp, one of the most destructive introduced pest fish species in south-eastern Australia, as part of the $15-million NCCP. The plan is designed to ultimately improve the quality of Australian waterways and aquatic biodiversity.
A key method scientists are exploring for the control of carp is the potential release of carp virus, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3, as a biocontrol agent.
NCCP national co-ordinator Matt Barwick said community briefing sessions were critical to ensure affected communities had up-to-date information on the work of the NCCP and also provide a forum for people to ask questions and provide feedback.
“While these community briefing sessions are important for us to share the background, context and desired outcomes of the NCCP, they also provide an opportunity to hear from the community about how the prevalence of carp impacts on them, their lifestyle or business,” he said.
Mr Barwick said the NCCP was engaging with impacted regions because waterways were the lifeblood of many rural and regional communities and needed protection.
“We want to work collaboratively with the local community – as healthy river systems and waterways result in healthier communities,” he said.
“We want to learn more about how people use the affected river systems and waterways and work with communities to consider potential direct or indirect impacts, be it social, environmental, economic or cultural, that might eventuate.”
The NCCP will provide detailed information to the Federal Government, which will make a decision on the use of the virus at the end of 2018.
Sessions include two elements, a workshop of representatives from key stakeholder groups between noon and 4pm, followed by a community briefing.
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority chief executive David Brennan said the Horsham session was about sharing information and knowledge.
“It will also give us a better understanding of timelines, if or when there is a release of a virus and what we can expect,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get a broad range of community perspectives about carp in our region.”
The authority has advocated for the release of the virus in Wimmera waterways if research covers off on environmental safety issues.