If you read my previous article on how the Australian Government were planning to introduce the KHV disease to cull off mass numbers of Carp, you will already know my huge reservations about this project.
The environmental impact of such a large scale slaughter, has to have huge effects on other wildlife in the area. Although KHV is though to only affect Carp and no other fish species, killing hundreds of thousands of fish, has to have an effect on water quality.
At last, it appears that researchers at the University of Adelaide have started looking closely at the potential impact and have issued some very stern warnings regarding oxygen levels.
According to the ABC Net Australia website the researchers put dead carp into 800 litre tanks of water to measure the amount of oxygen a decomposing carp would use up. Although the research has only just started, they are already seeing dramatic results.
Researcher Richie Walsh told ABC:
“We found that at 20 degrees, one carp can almost completely remove oxygen from the water in less than 48 hours,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things we need to determine, but so far my research does indicate that there will be huge side effects for the rest of the ecosystem.
“If the herpes virus is released, there is the potential that millions of tonnes of rotting fish will have to be removed from the system.”
Mr Walsh also had concerns over whether all of the dead fish would actually float to the top, making their removal very difficult.
“A lot of them may sink, which will make removal obviously very difficult, even if we had the time and money to get them out,” he said.
“Carp-ageddon” as it’s being dubbed has been given a $15m backing from the Australian government but the project has been earmarked for 2018, to give researchers enough time to evaluate all of the possible scenarios.
Some say it may even involve local people helping to remove the dead fish from the river system, should the project go ahead.
Fishermen in the area are split on the project. Many want to see the numbers of carp reduced but they also are concerned about the water quality once the operation takes place. Others simply believe that the clean up operation required, post infection, would not be humanely possible.
For Australia, the European (Common) Carp is an invasive species. Some fisherman report catching up to a tonne of Carp in a single day. Some goes to make up lobster bait, a little on human consumption but supply far outstrips demand.
We’ll keep you up to date with this story as it continues to unfold
You can read my original article HERE