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What to do with carp unclear


John Thistleton

A competitor releases a large carp back into the lake near Bowen Park during the Canberra Classic fishing competition on ...

A competitor releases a large carp back into the lake near Bowen Park during the Canberra Classic fishing competition on Friday, December 7. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The ACT government has declined to explain a conflict between its carp reduction strategy and legislation in both the territory and NSW which does not prohibit releasing captured fish back into lakes and streams.

The Canberra Times reported on Monday carp were being returned to Lake Burley Griffin despite attempts to reduce numbers in the Murrumbidgee River.

A demonstration reach, a section of a waterway or wetland where a number of management interventions are applied to showcase the cumulative benefits of river rehabilitation on native fish populations, has been established to encourage native fish and research ways of restricting carp.

When asked why a Sydney fishing club could return carp to the water, despite a recommendation in the Upper Murrumbidgee carp reduction strategy against such practice, the Environment and Sustainable Development Department said:

''All anglers are allowed to release carp at the point of capture. It is illegal to move them between waterways (alive or dead). Anglers are encouraged to humanely destroy carp and dispose of them appropriately rather than leaving them on the banks.''

In September the ACT government announced a taskforce was proposing a $60 million project to clean up Lake Burley Griffin, including for the first time sustained culling of the carp population. The report is still under consideration.

Fisheries, angling and noxious pest experts concede it is impossible to eradicate the exotic pest, because numbers quickly return from breeding, surrounding waterways, waterbirds and people illegally releasing noxious fish.

Sydney Coarse Angling Club spokesman Howard Hill said carp was the most-eaten freshwater fish in the world. ''The Chinese and Vietnamese put them in their rice paddies and have fish and rice. It's protein with their rice.''

Mr Hill said many nationalities regarded carp as an excellent table fish, while in the eastern states of Australia many people were still coming to terms with how to live with the problem.

Capital Region Fishing Alliance president Shane Jasprizza said ''carp out'' events, where carp are caught and killed, educated people and gave participants a feeling they were helping with the fishery.

On occasion he did not kill every carp he caught.

If he hooked a whopper carp at Lake Tuggeranong he would release it in the hope of catching it again.

''You have people opposed to killing for the sake of killing, conservationists. Realistically, we are still catching as many carp as before. We don't pretend that we are getting rid of them. Every little bit might help. You will never get rid of them.''

Electrofishing in Lake Burley Griffin earlier this year, ACT environment staff caught 395 fish, 57 per cent carp and 34 per cent redfin. Of the remaining fish, a few Murray cod and golden perch were found. The survey team recommended continual stocking of native fish and more electrofishing to assess effectiveness of stocking fish with natives.


  • I hate to carp about it, but 300 years after Dampier came there is still a strong undercurrent in Australian culture that finds the Australian flora and fauna quite weird and distasteful, and rather wishes that the whole place looked and felt more like an outpost of Surrey.

    To drown out its botanical gardens, Canberra has just added a $20m exotic arboretum draw-card to its exotic tulip-festival draw-card. Look how it fell over itself to protect an oppressive English hedge. So of course its left hand will fill our man-made lake with fat ugly carp while the right hand is yanking them out.

    Until we begin to talk about this cultural schizophrenia, we can expect the genteel process of carefully managed strangulation of local species to continue. Note Tim Flannery's recent essay on this topic, and David Lindenmayer's recent concerns about the perilous state of Victoria's faunal emblem, the lost-and-found Leadbeater's possum.

    Date and time
    December 11, 2012, 7:42AM
    • Don't waste $60 Million to clear the lake. Just empty it and return it to its NATURAL state. A flowing river which will not stagnate and get poison algae. Then restock with native fish. Spend the $60 Million on free beer for the centennial celebrations!

      Date and time
      December 11, 2012, 10:08AM
      • Whilst I agree with any proposal that includes copious amounts of free beer, I have to disagree with you about draining the lake. What we need is a solution that combines free beer and the lake..........bring back the birdman rally!!

        Stir the pot
        Date and time
        December 11, 2012, 10:52AM
      • Move Birdman to the lake in Belconnen, i think it is non-toxic. $60M is well over 1.5 Million BLOCKS of beer or 45 Million Cans. And we can truck the empties to SA and get 10c per can back. A profit of $4.5 Million which could be used to build a u-beaut birdman facility in Belconnen.

        Date and time
        December 11, 2012, 1:09PM
    • I like Surrey!

      I'm more concerned that the ACT Government does not have a position on the issue. Was this overall issue not one of the 100 promises to the Greens?

      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      December 11, 2012, 10:16AM
      • Easy. Create a market tc.

        Catch, dry and sell as an aphrodisiac. Some idiot, somewhere will buy it.

        Seems to be working to rid the world of Rhinos.

        Date and time
        December 11, 2012, 11:36AM
        Comments are now closed

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