National Carp Control Plan researchers look into

Researchers from five states are collaborating to develop a practice method to accurately determine the total weight or biomass of carp in Australian waterways. 

WATERWAYS: Researchers with the National Carp Control Plan are trying to accurately measure carp in Australian waterways. Photo: File.

WATERWAYS: Researchers with the National Carp Control Plan are trying to accurately measure carp in Australian waterways. Photo: File.

Invasive European Carp are seen as an endemic around the country, except in the Northern Territory, and are estimated to make up a large percentage of the fish biomass in many Australian waterways.    

The project is one of 10 major research projects in the $15 million National Carp Control Plan (NCCP), which would explore the use of a biocontrol to improve Australia’s waterways.

Arthur Rylah Institute principal researcher Jarod Lyod said carp biomass estimation will be undertaken across rivers, lakes, billabongs, and estuaries, and will also allow for fluctuating carp numbers through time.

“Gaining a solid estimate of the total volume of carp is a vital piece of information that will inform other projects,” Mr Lyon said.

“This research will critically inform development of carp virus release strategies and planning for clean-up; especially in high density locations, should a decision be made to release the virus.”

Mr Lyon said the organisation had already amassed a reasonable amount of data, but the methodology being used would provide a more robust estimate of carp density to inform planning and management.

“I’ve worked in a lot of rivers and carp aren’t just in the Murray-Darling Basin, there are carp in coastal rivers too, so this research will ensure we measure total abundance in many different areas,” he said.

“Standard approaches to measuring fish abundance, such as mark-recapture methods, will be used alongside a relatively new technique – environmental DNA (eDNA) – to provide multiple lines of evidence.

“eDNA taken from water samples can detect what species are in the water, and potentially their relative density as well. Consequently, this approach has the potential to become a rapid sampling technique.”

NCCP national coordinator Matt Barwick said the program is a plan to recover Australian waterways and aquatic biodiversity.

“Research such as this underpins a thorough and measured approach to the NCCP, ensuring the right recommendations are made to Government at the end of 2018 to deliver the optimum outcome for stakeholders,” Mr Barwick said.

Other major NCCA projects include:

  • Investigating stakeholder concerns
  • Cost and benefits of carp control
  • Risk assessment as part of research
  • The possible release of the carp virus cyprinid herpesvirus-3 to improve waterway qualities
  • Completion of trials testing susceptibility of non-target species to the carp virus
  • strategies for cleaning up carp if the carp virus is released

Visit for further information about projects.