Don’t carp, it could be caviar

19 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM
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Justin O’Mahony scoops European carp out of the river this week. Picture: KYLIE ESLER
Justin O’Mahony scoops European carp out of the river this week. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

THE scourge of our rivers is being fished out and packed off to European markets where it is welcomed as a delicacy.

Efforts to control the population of carp in the Lower Ovens River have seen more than 5000 kilograms fished out in the past couple of weeks.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment has been electro-fishing at Peechelba, a process that involves stunning carp with electricity before netting them.

While many will end up as fertiliser, some fish will be exported.

The carp roe will most likely be made into caviar dips and the skins used to make fish leather.

The Victorian government’s carp control program aims to reduce the impact of the carp such as increased turbidity.

Arthur Rylah Institute fish ecologist Jarod Lyon said cutting carp numbers was crucial to preserving other species.

“The lower Ovens is a high conservation value aquatic ecosystem for threatened native fish species including the iconic Murray cod and trout cod,” he said.

“Cutting carp numbers is an important part of the effort to protect those species.”

Fish ecologist Justin O’Mahony has been working with the Arthur Rylah Institute for 11 years and was part of the electro-fishing project this week.

“In one morning alone we caught over 300 kilograms of carp,” Mr O’Mahony said.

“In the past couple of weeks we have caught over 5000 kilograms, so there’s definitely a lot there.

“We caught a couple of pregnant females today and their eggs will definitely be worth a lot.”

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