As the sun set on another hot day, southwest Queensland’s Balonne River’s carp population was recently counting its losses.
More than 220 people had arrived in the riverside town of Surat for the first ‘Carp Buster Competition’ organised by the Surat Fishing & Restocking Club and the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee (QMDC).
The competition was designed to raise awareness of the threat that carp pose to Queensland’s waterways, and to make a dent in the large numbers of carp in the Balonne River.
Carp, a dirty word for most Australians, are responsible for the severe degradation throughout the Murray-Darling Basin’s waterways, affecting water quality and native fish populations.
“The sheer numbers have meant that there’s increased competition with native fish,” QMDC’s Riverine and Wetlands Technical Officer, Erin Bainbridge said.
“And the feeding habits of carp stir up sediment in the water, which uproots aquatic plants and disturbs native fish habitat. This has resulted in a significant change in the ecosystem and a drop in the level of water quality,” she said.
QMDC staff were out in force to support the day, which the QMDC funded. However, it was the Surat locals who actually achieved the results, catching and disposing of 200 carp.
Female carp spawn twice a year, laying over one million eggs per kilogram of body weight each time.
So, the eradication of over 270kg of the pest made the day a huge success – and a lot of fun, too!
50,000 yellowbelly fingerlings were also released by the Surat Fishing & Restocking Club, with the help of QMDC staff, to restock the native fish population.
For more information contact QMDC on (07) 4637 6201. – QMDCReads: 3153