Shock­ing fish ex­tracted

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - On The Land -

The Wan­garatta Sus­tain­abil­ity Net­work (WSN) and the Arthur Ry­lah In­sti­tute (ARI) teamed up for a co­or­di­nated ex­trac­tion of carp at Lake Mul­wala re­cently to rid the wa­ter­ways of the wretched fish.

Di­rec­tor - Fish­eries Man­age­ment, Pol­icy, Sci­ence and Li­cens­ing for Vic­to­rian Fish­eries Au­thor­ity Jarod Lyon said the op­er­a­tion had to take ad­van­tage of the re­cent low­er­ing of the lake.

“The re­moval was or­gan­ised by Wan­garatta Sus­tain­abil­ity Net­work and oc­curred to take ad­van­tage of the low wa­ter lev­els in Lake Mul­wala to tar­get carp ag­gre­ga­tions for re­moval,” Mr Lyon said.

“In this case the op­er­a­tion is op­por­tunis­tic given carp are ag­gre­gat­ing in re­sponse to the low­er­ing of the lake.”

Vol­un­teers from the WSN in­clud­ing lo­cal Kelvin Berry, Yar­ra­wonga lo­cals in­clud­ing Luke Cook­shank as well as keen fish­er­men iden­ti­fied the ‘hot spots’ for carp be­fore the ARI were brought in with their elec­tro spe­cific equip­ment.

The ARI brought an elec­tro-fish­ing crew to the Ovens and Mur­ray rivers to tar­get the carp ‘hot spots’ be­fore an elec­tric cur­rent was sent through the wa­ter to stun the fish and bring them to the sur­face.

Although all fish suf­fer from the elec­tric shock, the na­tive fish are left to re­cover which they over­come within min­utes while the carp are pulled out and eu­thanised.

“The time when the lake is low­ered and in the process of re­fill­ing again pro­vides the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to catch the carp,” Mr Berry said.

“As the warm wa­ter from up­stream comes down the carp swarm to­gether in the la­goons to keep warm which makes it eas­ier to stun and net them.

“Peo­ple like Luke Cook­shank who works at the weir wall were piv­otal to help­ing us on this mis­sion as he con­tin­u­ally pro­vided in­for­ma­tion on wa­ter lev­els and the hot spots for the fish which was vi­tal to the for­ma­tion of the op­er­a­tion and where and when we were go­ing to work.”

This op­er­a­tion was also im­per­a­tive to es­tab­lish­ing the quan­tity of carp in Lake Mul­wala as it helps de­ter­mine the fu­ture state of the wa­ter­ways as well as as­sist­ing in the es­ti­ma­tion of the un­wanted fish in lakes of a sim­i­lar size and ge­og­ra­phy.

“Carp are not a good fish and can of­ten ruin the re­pro­duc­tion of na­tive fish and other marine life in the wa­ter­ways,” Mr Berry said.

“This op­er­a­tion helps us to pre­vent the carp from de­stroy­ing the spawn­ing habi­tat of the Mur­ray cod and other na­tive fish.”

Mr Lyon said the WRN and ARI had joined in a part­ner­ship over the past few years with carp num­bers an on­go­ing bat­tle how­ever the op­er­a­tion is only pos­si­ble through fund­ing from dif­fer­ing gov­ern­ing bod­ies and busi­nesses.

“In terms of how of­ten an op­er­a­tion like this should oc­cur re­ally de­pends on spa­tial and tem­po­ral scale,” Mr Lyon said.

“What I can say is that these types of con­trol ef­forts can have a lo­calised im­pact on carp pop­u­la­tions.”

“Ja­son Mul­lens from North East Wa­ter was fan­tas­tic in help­ing us get the project started as well as work­ing with us through­out the three-day op­er­a­tion and Mul­wala Wa­ter Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan was fan­tas­tic with com­ing on board with fund­ing to get the process kick started,” Mr Berry added.

“With­out the dif­fer­ing forms of as­sis­tance from these peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions this op­er­a­tion could not go ahead and our wa­ter­ways would be jam-packed with the des­o­late fish.”

All fish are stunned to the sur­face once the ARI uses the elec­tro shock but only carp are re­moved and eu­thanised.

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