Scientists, environmentalists, anglers and the fishing industry have raised concerns about a fifteen million dollar plan by the Federal Government to kill Carp in the Murray Darling River system using a strain of the herpes virus.
An invasive species and bottom feeder that stirs up mud, carp now make up eighty percent of the bio-mass in Australian rivers. The plan is to release the virus at the end of 2018 in the expectation that it will kill the vast bulk of the carp within weeks.
Concerns range from the impact of the virus on native fish, to the impact on oxygen levels in the water of such a large volume of rotting fish. Adelaide University tests on the oxygen consumed by dead fish in 800litre tubs of water at 20 degrees Celsius have revealed that bacteria feeding on one dead carp can consume all the oxygen in the tank within 48 hours. The government hopes that community groups will volunteer to remove the dead fish from the river.