The carp herpes virus should be released into Australia's freshwater rivers to save our native fish populations and their habitats.
The bold move is supported by Dr Martin Mallen-Cooper, one of Australia's most-respected river ecologists who is also in the latest episode of OzCast, the official podcast of OzFish Unlimited.
Following decades of studying Australia's freshwater ecosystems, Dr Mallen-Cooper says the science and research is strong enough to confidently release the virus.
Dr Martin believes a release will temporarily reduce carp numbers and provide a critical window for native fish to establish a more substantial presence.
But he warns that to maximise the benefits during the critical recovery phase, fish habitats need enhancing, river flows need better managing and fish migration routes also need restoring.
He said it was through combining these actions with a virus release strategy, that a critical to boost to our native fish populations would be achieved.
He said Australia needs to consider this tactic because of exploding carp populations after recent high rainfalls across key catchments.
he said carp were introduced in the 1800s and have caused havoc through their bottom-feeding habits, disturbing sediment and adversely affecting water quality, plant growth, and native fish.
Their numbers have been increasing despite various methods to reduce them.
"This is a naturally occurring virus in carp populations overseas and has a long history, so it's not a recent mutation. Overseas it only occurs in carp species and research in Australia shows the virus is not a concern for natives," Dr Martin said.
He advocates for a nationwide management scheme due to the Murray-Darling Basin spanning multiple states, underscoring the need for a unified approach to address this challenge.