Category Archives: News

Understanding the National Carp Control Plan

Anthony Heiser of Canberra Fishos has produced a very readable explanation of the content of the NCCP. Anthony has been following the developments closely over many years and this paper is only the latest he has developed on the topic. Read it here.

Recall that the NCCP is currently with state and Federal Environment Ministers for a decision on future action. The NCCP identifies further studies that are needed before release of the virus.

Snowy Trout Challenge 2022-23

This competition runs from Oct to Apr. Catch a specially tagged trout, report it and go into the fortnightly chance for a $1,000 prize.

All the info is here. In particular the concept is clearly explained on this page.

Even if you don’t participate, keep an eye out for the tagged trout.

Lost Fishing Gear and Pollution

Got this important message from Jaime:

Just saw this article about fishing gear that ends up lost and contaminating. The research was done by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the University of Tasmania. I think it’s good we increase awareness on this issue so we stay motivated to do our part minimising contamination (hope all in the club use any of the different options/tools to dispose tippet material in a more rational way (mono and fluorocarbon, etc).

Try this link below, it’s a nice summary of the original article.

https://www.csiro.au/en/news/News-releases/2022/Fishing-gear-lost-at-sea-globally-revealed

Fly Tying 23 Nov 2022 – Saltwater Pink Thing

Lyall has advised:

In preparation for John’s Saltwater event on 2-4 December we will be tying a version of the Pink Thing saltwater fly.  It is one of the most popular flies for use in our region.  Of course Clousers and Scuds are right up there also depending on what you are targeting. 

Our tie on 23 November from 7:30 on Zoom will be fairly free form – meaning use whatever materials you have which approximate the materials list below.

I will be using:

Hook – Mustad #1 wide gape C47SD.  Any straight eye, wide gape saltwater hook in the size your target fish might take will suffice.

Eye – dumbbell eyes.  Any size or colour you think might work.

Thread – white Uni 6/0 thread.  Go wild and use pink thread, even fluoro if you wish but make it relatively thick and robust.

Body – white Schlappen or any white chicken feather 8 cm or so long.  White Grizzley Hackle as a lateral line.  Pink or pearl flash.

Collar – pink Schlappen

We will talk about the RIO fly line you might like to use to cast a wind resistant fly and the wind-beater casting technique you may wish to use.

Join us to tie or just to watch

Here is Lyall’s production and BJ’s “black shadow” variant. Lots of pro tips from Lyall and his guest Paul.

Coming Events

Next Meeting

Wed 14th December 2022. Final meeting for year as always as a bbq by LBG. 6PM at Beijing Gardens, Lotus Bay.

Next Activities

Postponed, date TBA – Lyle Knowles Trophy competition (trout) – Updated arrangements to be advised.

11-13 Nov – Brogo with Stefan – cancelled.

2-4 Dec – Saltwater Event (recall this the only opportunity to win the Saltwater Trophy. Contact John to reserve a spot in the cottage.

The Native Fish Forum.

Peter passed this onto me. More information here.

A quick reminder to register for the Native Fish Forum.

We have a jam-packed event including:

  • Keynotes from Ivor Stuart, Mark Lintermans and Nick Whiterod
  • Recovery Reach updates from the Upper Condamine, Lower Darling-Baaka, Mid-Murray Floodplain and Upper Murrumbidgee
  • Presentations covering the latest science, fish-friendly water management practices, First Nations perspectives, views on fish recovery from around the Basin and more…
  • Plus the chance to connect with like-minded people about native fish recovery.

When? 6-8 December 2022
Where? Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo
How much? $240 per ticket

The Long-awaited National Carp Control Plan has been Released

See the announcement here.

Key point, this is not a plan to release the carp herpes virus. It is a report to Federal and State Environment Ministers on the extensive research that has been conducted into the feasibility and risks. It identifies implementation issues including additional research required before deciding to release the virus. The ministers are currently considering the NCCP report and next steps.

The mortality rate won’t give us “Carpaggedon” but the risk of natural selection of fish immune seems lower than we’d been led to fear. Susceptibility to the virus of other species remains open for further research (I need to look more closely at trout. Earlier work seemed very limited).

The full plan is here. The document is huge some 4,000 pages, however the executive summary (9 pages including many pictures) is quite readible and commended to you.

For those who want just a taste, I’ve extracted a section called ‘Key Points’ below:

Introduced European Carp, or common carp, are a serious pest in Australia’s fresh waters, damaging aquatic plants, muddying water, and harming native animals through predation and competition for food.

Research by the National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) has identified that carp occur at high densities across extensive areas of south-east Australia. The national biomass of carp ranges from 200,000 tonnes and possibly up to approximately 1 million tonnes under ideal breeding conditions featuring consecutive high rainfall years.

The NCCP was established to investigate the carp virus’s potential to reduce carp populations at a continental scale. The NCCP completed an extensive research and investigations program involving 19 research projects and five investigations overseen by expert advisory groups and scientists. While many uncertainties remain, and preclude an unequivocal recommendation of feasibility at this point, NCCP research confirms that the carp virus has potential as a biocontrol agent. The body of evidence assembled by the NCCP research program is sufficient to enable Australian governments, should they choose, to proceed with additional targeted planning and research activities to inform an eventual decision on whether or not the virus should be used for biocontrol. Such a pathway could reduce, but would not eliminate, remaining uncertainties.

NCCP modelling indicates that, if successfully deployed, the virus could reduce and suppress carp populations by approximately 40–60% (and by up to 80% in less resilient carp populations). These modelled outcomes depend on some assumptions about how the carp virus will move through Australian carp populations, and on the potential development of resistance or immunity via several possible mechanisms. NCCP research indicates reduction of carp impacts may benefit from an integrated approach in which virus deployment is preceded by targeted harvesting, particularly in high-density carp populations. If the virus is eventually released as a biocontrol agent in Australia, an adaptive management approach is recommended which involves ongoing assessment of epidemiological performance to inform virus release operations. This approach would mitigate against departures from the predicted epidemiology.

Preliminary research indicates Australian carp may not possess the gene variants (alleles) that bestow heritable genetic resistance to the virus, meaning that the carp virus could potentially be effective for considerably more than 10 years. However, this work was exploratory, and did not constitute a comprehensive survey of Australian carp genetics. More broadly, the genetic basis for resistance to the carp virus remains imperfectly understood (though considerable international research in this area is ongoing). One uncertainty regarding genetic resistance is the role carp-Goldfish hybrids could play in its evolution. These hybrids are less susceptible than non-hybrid carp to the disease caused by the virus, and this relative invulnerability could bestow a selective advantage. Therefore, the rate at which genetic resistance to the virus would evolve among Australian carp remains largely uncertain, although the NCCP has developed the genetic tools to improve knowledge in this area. The potential emergence of herd immunity is also an uncertainty.

The carp virus will not infect humans or any other mammal, and there is considerable evidence the carp virus will not infect other non-target species (e.g. native fish). However, a very high level of confidence in the species-specificity of any biological control agent is required before its release. Additionally, concern regarding the virus’s specificity to carp is relatively common in the Australian community. Unless addressed, such concerns could negatively affect social licence for carp biocontrol. For these reasons, additional non-target species susceptibility testing of selected fish species is recommended if governments wish to proceed with activities to inform an eventual decision on whether or not to proceed with carp biocontrol.

Broadscale and long-term water-quality impacts resulting from carp biocontrol operations are unlikely. Local water-quality impacts are likely under particular conditions, and in some ecosystem types (mainly those with low or no flows). Some aquatic habitats in the Murray– Darling Basin (MDB) already have water-quality parameters (particularly dissolved oxygen levels) that are marginal for native fish species. Further degradation of these parameters by decomposing carp could cause fish kills in these areas unless effectively managed. Carcass management strategies and methods can theoretically mitigate water-quality risks as demonstrated in NCCP case studies, noting that capacity to manipulate river flows specifically to benefit carcass management may often be limited or non-existent and physical collection of carcasses presents challenges.

If Australian governments choose to proceed with the additional activities required to inform a final decision, and this process eventually lead to virus release, implementation of carp virus biocontrol would likely involve two to three years of coordinated deployment focused initially on the MDB, with ongoing adaptive management beyond initial deployment.

A future carp biocontrol program would require investment. An NCCP case study of possible virus deployment in the Murray and Murrumbidgee systems roughly estimated that virus deployment and subsequent post-release management would cost around $190 million (at 2019 costings). This area covers more than 30% of the carp biomass in Australia including the highest densities of carp. If governments choose to proceed with activities to inform decision making, more accurate and detailed costings will be required.

Although uncertainties and risks remain, these are likely to be reduced through a pathway of targeted further research, implementation planning, adoption of NCCP recommendations, and by development of detailed post-release monitoring plans and an implementation governance structure that enables adaptive management. At the national scale, further regulatory approvals will be required if governments proceed with the assessment pathway. Community consultation, public communications, and stakeholder engagement are also important given the possible impacts and high level of interest in carp biocontrol.

November 2022 Burley Line (Newsletter Issue 184)

Nice for the club to receive thanks for our efforts with fly casting instruction – certainly drew in maybe a record number of new recruits. The letter of thanks came along with some photographic evidence of (perhaps) lessons learnt, which in turn earns plaudits as our cover photo above – well done David. One of our youngest friends, not yet a member, has caught his first fish on fly – fly cast by himself no less – though he has a big advantage with the waters he is fishing and the excellent flies produced by his dad (a close look at the photo reveals JQ’s tricky weedguard). Greg S and Peter have been fascinated by the amount of water around right now, though it was only after they sent this stuff to me that things got very dire in southern NSW and Victoria – our heart goes out to those affected.

Our News blog has been very active. Some pointers here for those who have not registered for automatic email alerts on new posts. A key one for me, relates to the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers who have uploaded some correspondence showing recent actions the Council has been active in on behalf of anglers.

On one hand it is disappointing that river conditions have led to a postponement of our premier trophy, the Lyle Knowles, but secretly I’m happy as I may actually be in town and available to have a go 🙂 Aside from Lyle Knowles, later this month and early in December we have a rush of diverse fishing activities. Be sure to contact the organisers and commit.

I made contact with Roger, our North American motorcycle road tripper. He wasn’t able to get something prepared for this issue, but is hoping to deliver next month. He is currently on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada waiting for some rain due in a couple of days which he hopes will activate the Atlantic Salmon. Next week he’s heading to Toronto with plans to have a crack at Ontario Steelhead. I look forward to hearing all about it and sharing it with you here.

With the postponement of Lyle Knowles this edition was looking to be a bit thin – I am much thankful for those who have provided copy this month especially some last moment stuff from Claude and BJ. Hopefully next month will be a bumper given the events but, as always, I would appreciate any and all contributions. Copy to me by 22 Nov would be appreciated.