The Harmful Carp

By Sam Lucas

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What are Carp?

Carp are a large freshwater fish native to central Asia. Introductions in many countries have helped to make carp the most widely distributed freshwater fish in the world. They are extensively farmed in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and are a popular angling fish in Europe. However in Australia, carp are considered a significant pest.

How did they get here?

Carp have been introduced into Australia both deliberately, in an attempt to imitate the European environment, and accidentally. The spread of carp may also have been assisted by anglers illegally using them for live bait.

Where are they Found in Australia?

The distribution of carp in NSW now includes most of the Murray-Darling Basin as well as many coastal river systems. Carp are now the most abundant fish species in many NSW rivers, accounting for 90% of the fish biomass.

Below is a map showing current areas with carp in Australia:

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Problems these Pest Pose

Carp have detrimental effects on native aquatic plants, animals and general river health, particularly through their destructive feeding habits.

Some effects on the ecosystem include:

- Reduced water quality

- Algal blooms

- Erosion

- Disease

- Reduction in native fish numbers

How are they being Controlled?

Currently it is not illegal for recreational fishers to return carp to the water where they were captured, however, Industry and Investment NSW strongly encourages fishers to not return any carp caught to local rivers and instead disposing of them in a humanely way.