THE Murray cod’s mortal enemy has met its nemesis.
Environmental scientist and fisheries expert Matt Barwick has been appointed as national co-ordinator of the $15 million National Carp Control Plan.
“Matt is perfectly placed to take on the role as Carpinator to co-ordinate and develop this important program,” Water Minister Barnaby Joyce said.
The plan, spearheaded by Mr Barwick, will be developed by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation and will initially focus on biological controls for carp, specifically the carp herpes virus.
Dubbed “the rabbit of our waterways” by Mr Joyce, carp are estimated to have a total biomass of up to 2 million tonnes across the Murray Darling Basin.
Carp compete with native fish for food, eat aquatic plants, and reduce water quality and undermine banks by stirring up sediment when feeding.
Government aims to have finalised the carp herpes roll-out by the end of 2018.
“Carp can cause damage of up to $500 million per year by lowering water quality of domestic and irrigation water supplies, damaging wetlands, impacting upon agriculture, commercial and recreational fisheries, regional tourism industries, and harming native fish populations and river health,” Mr Joyce said.
“Matt will work with a range of state and federal government departments, as well as non-government stakeholders including researchers, industry and environmental organisations, recreational fishers, Indigenous and community groups, tourism operators and landholders to develop the plan.”