Letters: Carp battle plan has stalled

VRFish, the peak body representing Victorian recreational fishers, is deeply concerned the once in a lifetime opportunity through the ­National Carp Control Plan (NCCP) to address the ecological destruction caused by carp has lost ­political momentum and critical funding.

We are alarmed and frustrated the development of the NCCP has been completely derailed and timeframes blown out for another 12 months due to research funding shortfalls.

Noxious European carp are “rabbits” of our rivers and con­tinue to impact heavily on freshwater fish populations, riverine health and in general continue to cause immense environmental degradation.

The Federal Government must treat carp as a serous noxious pest and fast-track the funding needed to complete the research and stop playing political games.

We need scientific answers as soon as possible, not prolonged funding excuses.

VRFish wrote to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud in June with concerns about a funding shortfall and asked for 

$4.24 million to be set aside for implementation of the plan to be allocated to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to complete the NCCP.

The previous federal agriculture minister made it clear carp control was a high priority and guaranteed funding to provide the research ­answers.

Fishers are also becoming extremely impatient that information exchange and opportunities for recreational fishers to engage in the development of the plan have also dried up.

Fishers regularly contact VRFish with their questions and concerns about the potential carp virus ­introduction and all we can offer is to direct them to a website.

VRFish will continue to advocate the development of a NCCP as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost our native freshwater fish populations and give our struggling waterways a chance to recover.

Rob Loats,

VRFish chairman

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