Carp are an invasive species almost everywhere and Australian scientists have had enough of the little pests. They’re taking an interesting approach using herpes.
One could probably think of carp as the cockroaches of the fish species. Somehow, some way, their population continues to thrive in even the most adverse conditions.
That’s why the recent plan set in place, known as the National Carp Control Plan, in Australia is so crazy. The scientists are releasing the herpes virus into the Murray River in hopes of killing millions of European carp. The particular strain they are releasing is a specially-picked ‘carp herpes’ strain that will only affect European carp.
The Daily Mail reported that the virus is designed to destroy the entire carp population by 2045 with at least thousands of fish dying in the first 24 hours of releasing the virus into the river.
Because the Murray River is a strong carp breeding location, scientists hope that by crushing their breeding ground, they will effectively end reproduction. The koi herpes virus has been tested on “other animals including chickens, mice, frogs, turtles, and water dragons” for over 10 years and scientists are confident that only the carp will fall victim to it.
Additionally, there are so few native fish left in the region due to the carp’s blast of population that scientists are not worried about effecting those populations as their breeding efforts have been under control for the last few years.
The virus will not infect humans using the Murray River, either.