Frequently asked questions
How is the Victorian Government working with the FRDC on the NCCP?
The NCCP is a national project being led by the FRDC on behalf of the Australian Government. The Victorian Government is working with the FRDC and other state and territory governments to help develop the NCCP. The Victorian Government has representation on the NCCP's Science Advisory Group, Policy Advisory Group, Operations Working Group and Communications Working Group; these groups provide advice, guide decision-making, and oversee and contribute to the development of the NCCP.
The Victorian Government has appointed a State Carp Director and established two groups, the Victorian Carp Control Group (VCCG) and Victorian Carp Working Group (VCWG), to coordinate the Victorian response to the NCCP. Many Victorian Government departments have responsibilities relevant to the NCCP. The VCCG and VCWG will minimise duplication of effort, improve interagency communication and maximise the management accountability during the development, planning and potential implementation of the NCCP.
How will implementation of the NCCP be funded in Victoria?
The Commonwealth Government has invested $15 million over 2.5 years for the development of the NCCP. Ongoing resourcing and funding will be required if the NCCP is implemented. The Victorian Government welcomes discussion with Commonwealth and State Governments about the funding of the NCCP implementation.
How is the decision made on whether the carp virus is released?
The FRDC will deliver the NCCP to the Commonwealth and state Governments for consideration, the FRDC has recently received a 12 month extension for the delivery of the plan which is now expected by the end of 2019.
At the national level, legislative approvals to release the carp herpesvirus are needed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Commonwealth Biological Control Act 1984. Both processes require a statutory public consultation period.
Victorian approvals will be required under several key pieces of state legislation including: Biological Control Act 1986, Fisheries Act 1995, National Parks Act 1975.
The decision to release the carp herpesvirus will be made by all governments through the Agriculture Ministers' Forum based on the recommendations and findings in the NCCP.
When and where will the carp virus be released in Victoria?
The strategy for the release of the carp herpesvirus in Australia is being developed as part of research funded under the NCCP.. If release of the carp herpesvirus is supported, the virus will be released in a controlled manner to ensure governments can manage the response appropriately, whilst maximising efficacy of the virus. Multiple factors, including availability of quantities of the virus, water temperature, biomass of carp and connectivity of waterways, will influence the timing of the virus release and the selection of the release site.
Will all the dead carp be cleaned up in Victoria?
If the NCCP is implemented, the reality is that not all dead carp will be physically removed. Some may be left to naturally decompose in areas of least impact, e.g. remote areas.
It is not financially viable or practical to clean-up all dead carp once the carp herpesvirus has been released. Clean-up sites will be determined by a number of factors, including the potential impact on economic, social or environmental values, on human populations, drinking water supply, amenity, carp biomass, water flows and waterway accessibility.
Who will undertake the clean-up in Victoria?
The NCCP team is undertaking research to develop detailed strategies for rapidly responding to carp mortality events, including identifying equipment and personnel needs. The NCCP Operations Working Group has a responsibility to develop appropriate clean-up strategies.
Managing the clean-up of carp will require carefully-planned clean-up strategies and effective collaboration across regional and, in the case of the Murray River, interstate boundaries. The Victorian Government is reviewing the institutional arrangements for the clean-up of carp following the potential release of the carp herpes virus.
How will you manage the environmental risks to Victorian waterways?
Information collected from the NCCP research will inform risk assessment and management strategies for any potential negative impact on the environment.
Research being undertaken for the NCCP will help to improve current understanding of how different quantities of dead carp impact on water quality in the variety of habitats that carp inhabit in Australia. Understanding the biomass of carp in Victoria's waterways is an important part of assessing the risk of releasing the carp herpes virus. Research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has shown that the carp herpesvirus is specific to carp and produces high mortality in infected carp.
How will the economic, health and social risks to Victorians be managed?
Research being undertaken during development of the NCCP will improve understanding of the economic, human health and social risks for potential release of the carp herpesvirus for carp biocontrol in Australia.
The information collected from the NCCP research will inform risk assessment and management strategies for any potential negative impact on economies, human health and communities.
How effective do we expect the carp herpesvirus to be in Victoria?
The efficacy of the carp herpesvirus will vary depending on water temperature, season, waterbody characteristics, density of carp, concentration of the virus, etc.
The carp herpesvirus is most effective when water temperatures are between 18°C to 28°C. Many Victorian waterways reach these water temperatures during warmer months. Cooler, alpine waters may infrequently reach these temperatures or only for short periods. Deeper waterbodies may also have cooler temperatures.
The carp herpesvirus is mostly effectively transferred through physical contact between infected and non-infected carp. Carp may also become infected by swimming in the same waterbody as infected individuals. We expect the carp herpesvirus to be most effective in areas where carp aggregate and occur in higher densities particularly during spring.
The concentration of the carp herpesvirus that carp are exposed to also influences efficacy. Research has shown that carp exposed to higher concentrations die within 6 – 8 days.
Research being undertaken during the development of the NCCP will inform strategies to optimise the release of the carp herpesvirus so as to maximise the removal of carp, whilst at the same time minimising adverse environmental, social and economic effects.
What does success look like?
The carp herpesvirus alone will not eradicate all carp. It will reduce carp numbers and in doing so, will reduce their ecological impact. Ideally, the virus will reduce carp densities below which they have a significant impact on the environment. Research has shown this threshold level to be between 80 and 120kg of carp per hectare. Additional management interventions will help to supplement the virus and ensure carp populations remain suppressed over the longer term.