Carp - splashing around in Dandenong Creek
         
Carp (Cyprinus Carpio) originated in China and spread throughout Asia and Europe as an ornamental and aquaculture species.  They were first brought into Victoria from 1859 to1876 as a "farmed fish" but this was not successful although brown and rainbow trout survived.  
The common carp has a drab, olive-green colour with a yellowish underside.  It has a pair of barbels on each side of the mouth.  Carp have toothless jaws - they grind their food by means of a set of teeth in the throat.  Fully grown they can reach up to 1 metre and weigh approx 20 kilos.  Those seen in the Dandenong Creek would probably be 50cm and appear enormous.  Carp grow quickly and can live up to 20 years in the wild.  
'All European Carp and its domesticated forms, now or in future, in Victoria, whether occurring in private or in waters defined under the Fishers Act 1958, should be destroyed'.  This first attempt to control and reduce carp numbers was in the early 1960s following concerns that numbers of native fish were dwindling, waterways had become muddied and clogged with fish and native aquatic plants were being damaged.
Despite poisoning and viral control the same concerns apply today.   Carp are regarded as a pest and declared noxious.
Carp have spread through almost all river systems and lakes in Victoria helped at times by widespread flooding and the thoughtless release of unwanted bait into previously "clean" areas.
Neither commercial interest in carp as a food fish nor promotion of recreational carp fishing is sufficient to reduce numbers.  
Anglers who catch carp are not permitted to return them to the water.  They must be taken home for 'tucker' or painlessly disposed of.  Dead carp are very good buried near rose bushes.


back to wildlife