Trouble Brewing in the Waters : Australia's European Carp Invasion

Trouble Brewing in the Waters : Australia's European Carp Invasion

Carp Invasion

Australia has always been home to a large amount of native fish, however after European settlement in Victoria, ideas were hatched to turn the country more “European”, and hence the idea to bring a variety of European animals and fish came about. While most people are aware of foxes, rabbits and livestock, what many people who aren't involved in fishing don't realise is, in the vast majority of Australian waterways, there is by far the highest quantity of foreign species compared to native.

The problems began with the introduction of the redfin perch from Europe in 1850, and not long after the European fish known as Tench, a more predatory natured type of carp, was introduced. These two fish spread rapidly through the Murray darling river system, and caused a drop of around 50% of all native fish populations, before stabilising for over 100 years.

While tench and redfin stabilised without doing irreversible damage to the environment and native fish species, around 1960, people began to notice European carp had appeared in a few waterways. By 1970, almost every water body in the south of Australia was infested with carp, with their numbers multiplying 10 fold every 10 years. Australia now faces a European Carp invasive species crisis, the numbers are out of control, even when European Carp harvesting occurs on the Murray river between Victoria and New South Wales, this rarely has any effect on their total numbers.

Another problem too is that the government once relied heavily upon recreational anglers to target and remove the species from the water, the only issue with that is Australians don't have a history of carp fishing like the Europeans do, Australia is more of a coastal fishing nation, and only targets edible species primarily. Since Australians rarely eat carp also, this means that the last thing most people want on their hook is a European Carp.

Fishermen however do enjoy fishing for tench and redfin, and both these species are edible, the good thing for anglers is that they can be caught using redfin fishing lures, while European carp will rarely attack a lure, the same can't be said for live bait such as worms. Native species in Australia also target fishing lures, so for most fishermen, catching a carp isn't a common occurrence unless using a live or dead bait, artificial baits and lures simply are not attractive to European carp, due to their instinctive feeding habits.

European carp mostly feed by laying on the bottom of the water, sucking up the dirt and debris on the bottom, where they find their food. Whether that be baby yabbies (freshwater crayfish), baby freshwater shrimp, freshwater snails, worms or vegetation. Their instinctive nature to upturn the bottom of the waterways dislodges most plant life and also strips the lower river bed layer of breeding ground for native fish to reproduce. Already many freshwater snail species have perished along with certain species of freshwater shrimp, relegated to the extinction list, the Murray Cod and other Australian fish also find it extremely difficult to reproduce when carp is the dominant species in the waters.

The Australian government plans to tackle this issue by releasing what is known as the Carp Herpes Virus, this virus has been shown to affect no other creatures except carp, however the government has not yet mentioned how it will handle the biggest effect of releasing this virus, the cleanup.

Most European Carp can have up to 1 million young each breeding season, so by far the highest biomass in the rivers of South Eastern Australia are European Carp. When these fish die, they float to the top then begin to decompose, this releases toxic ammonia into the water, and if too many fish are decomposing at once, this toxic ammonia can take months to be broken down by bacteria in the water which feed off it, meaning that the country could end up with a few months of completely toxic and oxygen deprived waterways.

So will this solution kill off all the carp? Estimates state that around 90% will be killed off by releasing this virus. What we haven't been told is, if toxic ammonia is not controlled by immediately removing the dead carp from every inch of water around the country, will the native species even have any chance of survival?

Many fish keepers know the effects of ammonia, and it is common knowledge that the ideal level of ammonia in the water for fish to survive and be healthy is a level of absolute zero. Fish can handle up to a week of mild ammonia before it affects them, but if suddenly all the rivers biomass turns to ammonia, most anglers and scientists are beginning to agree that there is a high chance the release of this virus may do much more harm than good.

While the Australian Government and other agencies consult as to the effects of the release of this virus, we hope that they understand fully what they are doing, and the consequences that the country may face in terms of native species extinction, if this idea goes horribly wrong.

Popular Right Now

10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.

College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.

There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Top 3 Lifestyle Changes I Made In College

The mistakes I corrected which stood between me and satisfaction.


2019 has been a year of unparalleled growth for me. In 2018 I could have said the same. I spent extended periods of time analyzing the factors of my life which left me, in some ways, feeling unfulfilled. Here are the top 3 lifestyle changes that I made in college which left me feeling happier than ever.

1. Cut out the toxic people. 

A house is worthless without a solid foundation. The people which you call your friends are largely the foundation for your confidence and social life. Sometimes, we recognize that these people are overall anchors on our psyche; condescending narcissists whose confidence rests on making others feel inadequate. The first step to building self-confidence is to get these people out of your life immediately. Once you solidify this foundation, you will soon realize how pitiful these people are, and growth you had been capable of without them.

2. Do you even lift?

Not only has my physical condition improved from going to the gym, so has my mental strength. As my physical form has improved, my confidence has risen. We have spent millions of years evolving to physically exert ourselves. Our modern lifestyle has left many of us without this crucial key to endorphins and proper brain chemistry; a factor which has promoted never before seen rates of depression and anxiety. Lifting weights have left me feeling better than I can remember, with endorphins and testosterone at an all-time high.

For years, I either avoided the gym or found excuses to stop. The reason I never committed to fitness was largely a lack of interest in self-betterment, but also a feeling of cluelessness in the subject. I recommend utilizing the "Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide" linked here. This guide breaks down fitness in an incredibly easy to understand way. This information is not published by someone trying to sell you something. It was written by input from numerous online fitness enthusiasts and refined for accuracy as well as simplicity. This guide has helped me and many others in online communities start down the road to improved physical and mental health through fitness.

3. Do as much as possible, even when you don't feel like it. 

I squandered years of my short life secluding myself to a comfort bubble. While in college, I have realized that happiness largely rests on occupying yourself with new and real experiences as frequently as possible. Time which would have previously been wasted on my phone, the television, or playing online games was shifted to trying new things. As often as possible, I have pushed myself to undertake activities such as learning to snowboard, grabbing food with people from college whom I had just met, going hiking with strangers and our mutual friend, traveling solo, etc. Pushing myself further from my comfort bubble every day has been exceptionally conducive to not only living life to a greater degree but also decreasing the anxieties which we all experience.

What can you fix in your current life to build the lifestyle you dream of?

Related Content

Facebook Comments