Thursday 30th March, 2017
The National Carp Control Plan National Coordinator, Matt Barwick has reiterated a call by the Victorian Government reminding owners of aquarium fish that koi carp are classified as a noxious aquatic species in Victoria and must not be held without authorisation.
Mr Barwick said the Victorian Government’s reminder was timely and said koi carp were in fact a brightly coloured variety of the same carp species that is currently infesting our waterways in plague proportions.
Mr Barwick said work done by the Invasive Animals CRC emphasises that there have been multiple releases of the ‘koi strain’ of carp into Australian waterways between 1976 and 2008.
“Whilst issues associated with release/escapement of aquarium fish into our waterways aren’t just confined to carp, this pest species is a major problem in our freshwater ecosystems and so it’s important that we don’t have any more carp released to make the problem worse.
$13 billion dollars is being spent in the Murray Darling Basin to improve environmental outcomes and it is important that this investment of taxpayer’s funds is not undermined by the introduction of more invasive carp.”
“We know that water in the floodplain can create the perfect conditions for carp spawning and right now we are seeing alarming number of juvenile carp in response to recent flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Whilst we are seeing improvements in environmental outcomes in the Basin, high carp densities continue to impede ecosystem recovery,” Mr Barwick said.
Mr Barwick said the Victorian Government’s finding that some people have been ignoring the rules was a major concern, however it is pleasing that those doing so are being caught and prosecuted, including a 51-year-old Ocean Grove man recently fined $1,745 for possessing koi carp in the Geelong Magistrates Court.
“That fact that fisheries officers found several polystyrene boxes marked ’live fish’ … with one box clearly displaying international flight details originating out of Bangkok highlights that the risk of unscrupulous individuals bringing in new strains of carp or more insidiously new exotic diseases we are not prepared for should alarm all Australians,” he said.
“It is important that people check the rules for owning, keeping and breeding carp in their local areas and under no circumstances should they ever release aquarium fish species into our waterways”.
*Editor’s note: Pictures and footage of koi carp in WA available here, here and here.