The carp problem

The National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) is being prepared to explore the possible release of the carp virus – cyprinid herpesvirus 3 – into Australian lakes, rivers and waterways to help control carp populations.

Carp are Australia’s worst introduced freshwater fish and now dominate the waterways of the Murray–Darling Basin. They muddy the water through their bottom-feeding behaviour, which has flow-on effects for plants, invertebrates, other fish, and bird life.

Carp also affect all water users, including irrigators, local communities and those who use our waterways for recreation.

Community engagement

The NCCP project team wants to understand the ACT's waterways – what's important about them, how you use them, and your concerns and questions so that they can be addressed in the plan.

We would like to thank all who attended a community briefing session that was held on Monday 19 February 2018 that focused on how the carp virus could potentially be released after 2018.

This session was one of more than 40 being held in carp-affected areas in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia and was a good opportunity for the Canberra community to provide local insights into issues which need to be considered in the plan.

About the virus

The carp virus is found in 33 countries but not in Australia. Following research and testing over the past decade, CSIRO scientists are confident the carp virus is specific to carp and won’t cause disease in any other fish, animals or humans. There is no evidence internationally of the carp virus or any other fish virus causing disease in humans.

The virus will not be released without approvals required under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Release is also contingent on a comprehensive plan being in place for infecting the carp, the clean-up of dead fish, extensive public consultation and national agreement on implementation and funding arrangements.

Got questions?

Want to find out the latest on the National Carp Control Plan? For more information on carp herpesvirus, latest research and project updates visit

What happens next?

Following the release of a draft plan, a second round of consultation will be undertaken across Australia (including the ACT) later this year. More information on these activities will be given closer to the date.

Governments will consider the final plan at the end of 2018. If a decision is made to proceed with the virus release, it is expected that would occur in late 2019.

What is the ACT Government doing?

The ACT Government has established a cross-agency taskforce to consider specific issues for the ACT and region associated with the proposed release and measures to mitigate any risks.

In addition to working with the NCCP, the Government has also supported a number of activities in recent years. This includes the Carp Love 20°C campaign which has encouraged the community to report carp sightings, particularly where carp spawn. Carp have also been removed from Isabella and Upper Stranger ponds in early 2017. We also work (in addition to the National Capital Authority) to re-stock our local lakes with native fish.