Controlling Australia’s carp pest

Research into the carp virus is being undertaken as a possible carp control solution.

Carp are the worst freshwater pest in south-east Australia’s waterways – dominating native fish and making rivers muddy and difficult for water plants to thrive in.

To solve this problem, the Australian Government is exploring the best way to control carp in our rivers, lakes and dams.

A range of research projects are currently underway by universities, CSIRO and other experts to test whether the carp virus is a possible solution.

The National Carp Control Plan, a project set up by the Australian Government, is using the best available science and information to investigate if the virus is safe and effective in Australian conditions.

One project includes testing of water samples near Berri, South Australia, after frozen dead carp were introduced into a secured body of water by scientists from the University of Adelaide. Their results will show how the dead carp decompose in a real environment. This will tell us how they affect oxygen and nutrient levels in the water, and how this impacts on native fish, plants and water quality.

Other projects are investigating the costs, benefits and risks of the carp virus if released in Australia, including how to mount an effective clean-up operation.

The results of all of this research will inform the development of the National Carp Control Plan which will be prepared for government consideration in early 2020.

In the meantime, no decision has yet been made on the carp virus. This means the virus has not been released in Australia.

Experience from overseas shows that the carp virus is known to infect only carp. Nevertheless, the decision whether to release the virus is an important one and consultation with stakeholders and potentially affected communities will continue to inform the development of the plan.

  • For more information on the National Carp Control Plan, or to give your feedback, see
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