Leading scientist says the carp herpes virus is needed

OzFish Unlimited

The carp herpes virus should be released into Australia’s freshwater rivers to save our native fish populations and their habitats.

The bold move is supported by Dr Martin Mallen-Cooper, one of Australia’s most-respected river ecologists in the latest episode of OzCast, the official podcast of OzFish Unlimited.

Following decades of studying Australia’s freshwater ecosystems, Dr Mallen-Cooper believes the science and research is strong enough to confidently release the virus. Martin believes that a release will temporarily reduce carp numbers and provide a critical window for native fish to establish a more substantial presence.

But he warns that to maximise the benefits during the critical recovery phase, we need to enhancing habitats, manage river flows better and restore fish migrations. It is combining these actions with a virus release strategy, that are critical to bolster our native fish populations.

He pointed to current research that strongly supports Australia confidently moving forward with the approach and believes Australia needs to consider this tactic because of exploding carp populations after recent high rainfalls across key catchments.

Carp were introduced in the 1800s and have caused havoc through their bottom-feeding habits, disturbing sediment and adversely affecting water quality, plant growth, and native fish.

Their numbers have been increasing despite various methods to reduce them.

“This is a naturally occurring virus in carp populations overseas and has a long history, so it’s not a recent mutation. Overseas it only occurs in carp species and research in Australia shows the virus is not a concern for natives,” stated Martin.

He advocates for a nationwide management scheme due to the Murray-Darling Basin spanning multiple states, underscoring the need for a unified approach to address this challenge.

To hear more of Dr Mallen-Cooper’s insights visit the podcast, by Australia’s fishing conservation charity OzFish https://ozfish.org.au/ozcast/episode-ten-the-battle-against-carp-will-the-virus-work/?preview=true&swcfpc=1

/Public Release.