Carp plan update was reassuring enough for now

Matt Barwick. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Matt Barwick. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

It was interesting to hear directly from the coordinator of the National Carp Control Plan at Mannum on Monday night.

But it was just as interesting to gauge the vibe of the room.

One cannot blame the organisers for holding their forum in a relatively small, stuffy room – you never know how many people are going to come to these consultation things.

But we're passionate about our river around here, and that was reflected in the size and knowledgeability of the crowd.

It was also a crowd skewing older, as Bruno Lablack next to me pointed out; he worried that young people weren't taking enough of an interest in the issue.

A majority of those present – people who lived near the river, retired farmers, environmental advocates – said they already had limited knowledge of the plan to release a carp herpes virus into the Murray.

Most agreed with the need to get rid of the carp.

But they wanted to know more about how the dead fish would impact water quality, and how they'd be cleaned up.

And of course they asked the most important question: are you sure it's safe? Really, really sure?

This reporter was impressed with Mr Barwick's patient, reassuring responses.

While he was not able to answer every question, he explained the work that was being done to find those answers.

It was enough to keep us all going for now.

For the rest of this year, in the months leading up to a final decision, four questions will loom large.

Can we clean up the mess?

How much would it cost?

Who would do it?

And who would pay for it?

Peri Strathearn

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