Carp call coming
The National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) will make recommendations about the release of carp herpes virus before the end of the year.
The NCCP is reviewing a plan to release a species-specific virus (cyprinid herpesvirus 3) into waterways to reduce European carp numbers.
A total of $15 million has been allocated to develop the control plan, $5 million of which is set aside for research.
Jamie Allnutt is the plan's coordinator, and says the NCCP is on track to make a recommendation.
Meanwhile, scientists and members of the fishing industry want more time and money to be put towards researching the impacts and effectiveness of releasing the virus.
Southern Fisherman's Association chair Garry Herra-Singh says the problems carp cause do not warrant the release of the virus.
“It's not like a land-based virus, this is actually in a column of water and you really don't see the impacts, particularly the secondary impacts that affect other plants, other biota and other animals until it's too late,” he said.
“While it may kill a lot of carp, there are going to be survivors and every offspring will develop a strain that is more adaptive and resistant to the current virus.
“Someone's prepared to take the risk of introducing a virus that nobody is definite or clear about the impacts that it may have on the whole Murray-Darling Basin.”
There are other issues too, with the Murraylands and Riverlands Local Government Association concerned about who will be responsible for disposing of the fish.
“We recognise and understand the significant environmental benefit from a dedicated and targeted plan to eradicate carp,” chief executive Tim Smythe said.
“Our concern has been and will continue to be the clean-up.
“Obviously, the Murray-Darling Basin is a vast network, but that said, I guess we have to place our confidence in those people that are doing the necessary studies.”
There are also concerns about whether the virus could spread beyond Australia.
The carp herpes virus has spread across much of the world, but not to Australia or New Zealand.
A draft plan will be presented to a scientific advisory panel later this month, less than two months before the recommendation to the Government is due.
There will be no public consultation.