National Carp Control Plan is finished – now what happens?
Six years after it was announced, a plan to release a virus in the Murray-Darling Basin has been handed to the federal government.
A controversial plan to wipe out the carp in the River Murray has been completed after six long years.
The National Carp Control Plan focuses on releasing a virus into the river to all but eradicate the pest fish.
The federal Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry recently reported that it had handed the plan to the federal government, four years later than originally intended.
It will now be up to the government – and the state governments across the Murray-Darling Basin – to decide whether to go ahead with it.
The plan would also be published online in the near future, the department said.
What’s the National Carp Control Plan again?
Six years ago, Australia’s Science Minister promised – on a visit to Murray Bridge – to all but eradicate the bottom-feeding pest species by releasing a deadly virus.
Eliminating the carp would theoretically improve water quality in the river system and allow native species to thrive.
Public misgivings grew as scientists warned that a mass carp kill could cause secondary infections that could spread to other animals or humans, and might remove enough oxygen from the water to kill every other fish species.
A Senate enquiry heard that the river would be turned into a bloody mess “comparable to sewage”, and that cleaning up hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dead fish would be logistically impossible.
All of that came before humans’ own experience with an out-of-control virus.
Carp plan must be released ‘immediately’, opposition says
The state opposition’s spokeswoman on water resources and the River Murray, Nicola Cenofanti, called for the carp plan to be released “immediately”.
“The South Australian community deserves transparency and has the right to see the plan,” she said.
“Whatever decision is made on the release of the virus, it needs to be well-considered and supported.
“The immediate release of the plan is the first step in this process.”
More information: www.agriculture.gov.au.
You can help keep local stories like this one free for everyone to read. Subscribe to Murray Bridge News today and support your independent, locally owned news service, plus get access to exclusive stories you won’t find anywhere else, from just $5 a month.