Release of virus could solve Murray River’s carp problems

The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Luke O’Sullivan, has spoken in support of the proposed release of a virus which could see European carp numbers rapidly decline in the Murray River.

In some areas, European carp have become so dominant that they now make up 90 per cent of all fish in the river churning up mud and making the areas inhabitable for other fish and native animal species. 

The Department of Primary Industries and The National Carp Control Plan have proposed that the release of the carp herpesvirus could solve the problem.

“The river is not as healthy as it once was, and it’s been shown that this is largely due to the number of European carp in the river system.” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Studies in the United States have shown that the virus has huge potential for pest eradication with no danger posed to other species.

“There have been estimates which show that we could get rid of between 70 to 80 per cent of the European carp which currently have a devastating impact on our river systems.” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Testing conducted by the CSIRO has shown that the virus poses no danger to 13 native species such as Murray cod, crustaceans and various other native species. The studies have shown that there are no clinical or pathological changes in these non-target animals, and there is no evidence that the virus multiplies in other species.

“People may have their reservations about this proposal, but the tests and studies have shown that the only major effect of the release of this virus would be it’s intended effect; to greatly reduce European carp numbers.

“I would like to see that virus released into our waterways so that we can get them back in to a better condition for the whole community and I encourage the minister for fisheries to release the carp virus as soon as possible so we can get on with cleaning up our waterways.”

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