Flashback – Catch a Carp

Next year we will be celebrating 20 years of CMAs across Victoria. This is the first in a series of flashbacks – this one is from 2003

An innovative approach to a pest problem…

In a first for the WGCMA, an initiative was launched to help control Australia’s most abundant introduced pest in the region’s waterways: European carp.

While it is true carp spread through the region’s waterways through natural movement, the pest was also spread through “assisted means”. In the past, small carp had been used as bait with anglers releasing them, despite the fact it was, and remains illegal.

Having infested almost all of the Latrobe River and its tributaries as well as the Morwell River, the Thomson River below Cowwarr Weir and the Gippsland Lakes, carp were having a major impact on water quality.

In a bid to help tackle the problem, the WGCMA teamed up with Waterwatch in 2003 to hold a Catch a Carp Fishing Competition at Lake Narracan.

Billed as a “great event for families and people of all ages” the competition aimed to target the bigger carp that had infested the lake by providing prizes and several categories to entice people to participate.

Ensuring participants would be encouraged to attend the competition prizes were on offer in a junior and senior for the category for heaviest carp, smallest carp, most carp caught and a mystery weight prize.

To help get the message across about the problems associated with carp, the Catch a Carp Fishing Competition highlighted how the community could help in eradicating the pest. Participants were shown how to catch and kill the carp correctly and learned that some of the myths and fallacies surrounding the fish, including that it is inedible, were untrue. A range of edible products including carp fillets, smoked and dried carp were on show alongside crayfish bait and carp roe, as part of a solution to lowering carp numbers.

Participants were encouraged to help prevent carp spreading including making sure boats and trailers were clean of aquatic plants that may harbor eggs or small fish before being used in another area, not releasing aquarium fish into waterways and reporting sightings of carp in new areas.

Today carp remain a problem in freshwater areas and we continue to work with other agencies and commercial fisherman to remove them from our waterways.

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