The South East Local Land Services biosecurity team is encouraging Far South Coast fishers to keep an eye out for carp after a 76 cm, 9 kg female specimen laden with over 1 million eggs was caught in a Bega lagoon last month.
The biosecurity team has been working with local fishers to monitor the emerging carp population. Biological samples are being collected and sent to researchers at Queensland University of Technology to determine which species of carp are turning up and where.
“This catch really sums up just how much of a risk these fish pose to our waterways and why they are so successful,” senior biosecurity officer Andrew Michelin said.
Mr Michelin said it’s not clear how the fish make their way into waterways, though it’s possible that eggs can travel via bird activity, or that humans released the carp.
“Carp are native to Europe and South East Asia,” Mr Michelin explained. “There are different species, including the well known Koi carp, which is bred to be bright red, orange, white and yellow. But when Koi are left to their own devices, they revert to orange or brown.”
Carp are bottom feeders whose habits and movement cause turbidity and impact water quality. They also prey on native fish and are highly successful breeders. The disturbance they cause can also have downstream impacts for oyster growers and the wider community who enjoy our waterways.
“We have been working with local fishing groups to try and get a sense of the population in the local area. We encourage anyone who sees or catches a carp to record it in the FeralScan app, which can be downloaded for free, to your smartphone or device.
“This information can help us get an idea of the extent of the issue and develop plans to try and tackle it.”
Fishers who do catch a carp are encouraged not to return them to the water, but to euthanise them humanely and dispose of them appropriately.
“Carp are not a catch and release fish. We really don’t want people returning them to the water, which is why we want to let people know about the disposal options available to them.”
Bega Valley Shire Council provides two simple disposal methods, FOGO (Food Organic and Garden Organics bins) and the fish waste recycling bins located at boat ramps across the Bega Valley where fishers can dispose of all fish waste including carp waste. These disposal methods turn this waste product into compost.
“We know that it can be a hassle to dispose of unwanted fish and we also know how important it is not to return carp to waterways, so by supporting this initiative we are hopefully making it easier for people to do the best thing for the local environment,” advised Joley Vidau, Waste Management Coordinator for Bega Valley Shire Council.
Local Land Services will continue to gather data about where carp are around the Bega Valley and hope to secure funding to begin exercising controls in the near future.
“There is the potential for introducing biological control but that is still being approved at a federal level,” Mr Michelin said.
To find out more, contact the biosecurity team at the Bega Local Land Services office on (02) 6491 7800.
Original Article published by Elka Wood on About Regional.