Australia Will Use Herpes Virus To Control Its Exploding Carp Population

First Posted: May 02, 2016 04:40 AM EDT

The Australian government has recently announced a $15m (AUD) funding from the federal budget to stabilize its out of control carp population, according to a recent report. The money will be used to introduce a herpes virus specifically for carps that inhabit the country's river system. The species of fish are considered Australia's worst freshwater feral pest.

Experts from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have been examining the herpes virus, known as CyHV-3, for the past seven years to ensure it won't have an adverse or unintended consequence on the ecosystem of Australia's ecosystem. CSIRO has tested the CyHV-3 virus on numerous other native marine species too, including animals that inhabit and are dependent on the waters. The virus will be introduced to the freshwater system in the country in various phases.

It will take approximately seven days for the virus to have a noticeable effect on a carp, following which the kidneys and skin of the fish will be destroyed and it will die in the next 24 hours. However, according to a report in the Guardian, this should not be the cause of worry or sadness on behalf of the carps' plight as they are an invasive species that are harming Australia's native wildlife by consuming their sources of food. The government has calculated the economic impact of carps to be around the tune of $500 million (AUD) yearly.

Carp is among the commonest freshwater fish in the planet owing to its ability to adapt to different living conditions and habitats. In addition, there are no natural predators that threaten adult carps. "The common carp is a nasty pest in our waterways and makes up 80 percent of fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin," said Christopher Pyne, Science Minster Australia. The government hopes to curb the ever burgeoning carp population in the next 30 years by killing 95 percent of it with the herpes virus. 

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