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Murray Bridge councillor’s fishing comp idea carp be beaten
Murray Bridge councillor and deputy mayor Andrew Baltensperger has proposed a carp fishing competition in Murray Bridge.
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At a Murray Bridge council meeting this month, Cr Andrew Baltensperger put forward his idea for a European Carp fishing competition within the area of Murray Bridge.
His inspired idea had a surprising origin.
During the recent flood event, Cr Baltensperger was visiting the cave in Sturt Reserve where Bertha the Bunyip lives, and something only feet away from Bertha scared him.
“I went to assess the situation with the bunyip, and I must have made a noise with my foot,” he said.
“All of a sudden, there was this large splash, and there was this decent-sized carp next to me, and he took off – I jumped and he jumped.
“And that started the process: I thought, maybe we need a fishing competition.
“And in my mind, I tied it in with BCF [Boating, Camping and Fishing] coming here in the next few months as well: I thought if they can be involved somehow, they can promote their products or whatever and encourage more fishing.
“Also, it’s an event that needn’t cost a lot of money, and most, if not all, people can afford.”
According to an ABC News article, the floods in late 2022 and early 2023 resulted in the already high numbers of carp in the Murray–Darling Basin system growing to “astronomical levels”.
Cr Baltensperger explained why this increase in carp populations was a real problem.
“Carp now account for 90% of fish biomass in some areas of the Basin … and the increased spread of carp and its impact on freshwater habitat has come at the expense of native fish species and aquatic vegetation,” he said.
“I believe this event would provide an opportunity to educate the wider community about the detrimental impacts of pest fish and raise awareness and ownership of the pest fish issue.
“People see [carp fishing competitions] as a fun way to help deal with the pest fish problem and/or to raise money for the restocking of native species or other community-based projects.
“Many events are held in regional towns and become a key social event for the region.
“Attracting entrants from out of town generates significant income that helps stimulate the local economy.”
Although Cr Baltensperger said that although a fishing competition wouldn’t significantly reduce the number of carp in the River Murray, it was a way of drawing attention to the issue.
Such a competition could even lead to spin-offs, such as using carp as fine food.
“Tracy and Glen Hill in Meningie [at Coorong Wild Seafood] are red hot on turning carp into a delicacy,” Cr Baltensperger said.
The proposal had support at the council meeting, with Cr Baltensperger’s motion to receive a report on the feasibility of RMCB hosting a European carp fishing competition within our area being seconded by Cr Haig and carried unanimously.
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