Com­mu­nity set to dis­cuss carp virus

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.”

De­ci­sion

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.

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