Carp control session scheduled for Horsham

WIMMERA anglers, farmers and waterway users can learn more about the federal government’s plan to reduce carp numbers at an information session in Horsham.

The session will be at the Horsham Town Hall on Monday from 6pm.

The session will also discuss the development of the national carp control plan.

Plan state director Craig Ingram said carp were an unwanted pest in lakes and rivers.

He said carp reduced water quality, adversely effected native ecosystems and cost the economy up to $500 million a year.  

“In 2016, the federal government announced $15 million over 2.5 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,” he 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 our waterways 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.

At the end of 2018, the plan will make a formal recommendation on the best way to control carp in Australia.

The information session in Horsham is one of 13 across the state.

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority chief executive David Brennan said majority of lakes and waterways in the region had carp in them.

“Some are carp free, but if we could get rid of carp completely, it would mean a great environmental return for the region,” he said.

Mr Brennan said carp caused considerable damage to the region’s waterways.

“They eat vegetation or water grasses that native fish need for food and reproduction,” he said.

“They also muddy up the water, which leads to poor water quality and affects the plant life because the sun light is unable to get down to the river bed.

“They are predators to insects and frogs as well – they are pests like rabbits or rats but in the water.”