With widespread La Niña flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) populations are having a boom year. Videos of writhing masses of both adult and young fish illustrate that all is not well in our rivers. Carp now account for up to 90% of live fish mass in some rivers.
Concerned communities are wondering whether it is, at last, time for Australia to unleash the carp herpes virus to control populations – but the conversation among scientists, conservationists, communities and government bodies is only just beginning.
Globally, the carp virus has been detected in more than 30 countries but never in Australia. There are valid concerns to any future Australian release, including cleaning up dead carp, and potential significant reductions of water quality and native fish.
As river scientists and native fish lovers, let’s weigh the benefits of releasing the virus against the risks, set within a context of a greater vision of river recovery.
Continue reading at theconversation.com.