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Carp In Australia are blamed for the destruction of the inland river systems. The opinion on carp here has grown into something akin to a holy grail, passed from father to son. I must initially state that I am a coarse fisherman and consider this fish to be a great un-tapped resource.This is an attempt to provide a coarse fisherman's ethical view of carp in Australia.

The Australian Opinion

Unfortunately, the Australian perception of the Carp is one sided.I have witnessed the needless death of many fish through the rationalization of Carp causing the destruction of Australia's water ways.Whilst I agree that this fish is an introduced species, and introduced species' increase pressure on native wildlife populations, I do not agree with the justification used by Australian's for the treatment of carp.Some of the justifications used are as follows.

Carp make every water way muddy

Whilst Carp are bottom feeders, so are every other fresh-water fish, excluding predatory fish.The main reason waterways are muddy, is through erosion and damming.If sediment is not allowed to be distributed through flooding, then of course the big pools will fill up and kill off native fish.Carp also happens to be more resilient than native fish.If they weren't, then they would also die from these conditions.

Carp burrow holes into the banks

There is a belief here that carp eat all the water weed and soil which results in huge erosion and trees falling over. ( Sorry, I can't help but chuckle at this one ! ) Apart from the fact that the CSIRO has said this is untrue, the South Australian Fisheries Department is using this excuse to dredge ponds of every fish, in an attempt to remove the Carp. Carp actually eat bloodworm as a main diet. As they grow older, larger and stop breeding, they will also start to feed on crustaceans and small fish fry. Mud and water weed are not on the carps diet. Soil erosion and trees dyeing out is solely down to farming, grazing and the the great river red gum trees dyeing from the lack of flooding that they need to live. I hope if people really want to control carp then they must kill all the Water Birds. The reason being that Carp eggs are sticky and are moved via the legs of these birds. ( Perhaps I shouldn't have suggested that, they may well do it ! ) Small carp don't like fast flowing water, so lets bring back the spring floods and the environment may be saved from imminent collapse ! Carp are a reaction to the problem and not the cause !

Carp are slimy and you cannot eat them

Carp are indeed slimy and they are not a quick fish to prepare. However, their are quite a few ways to prepare them for eating. Put a Carp into a large container of fresh water for one week or so, and the slime is removed. Many Asians regularly eat Carp. I also know of someone who makes smoked Carp and it is apparently quite delicious. I can hear most Australians say "ah ha, so you actually haven't eaten them then !". That is indeed true, but you must remember that I happen to be a Coarse Fisherman, and I fish for the sport and not for the food.

I consider every fish to be a resource. Just because you do not like something, doesn't necessarily justify the cruel treatment that some people inflict. I have seen fish that were caught and then released, tethered to a closed empty plastic bottle. I'm sure you would have to agree with me when I say that this type of cruelty does nothing to justify the stance many Australians hold. The Carp is a living creature whose only crime is to do what any other creature does, -- they simply try to live.

Before I finish, I would like to mention that I am an Australian. In Australia, it is a crime to return the Carp back into the water. This however shall not stop me from returning all fish. Any fish that I see stranded upon the bank, I will return. I also try to re-catch those fish that are tethered, but regrettably I am not always successful.

Many people stop to watch me fish. When they see me returning the Carp, most exclaim, "why on earth did you put that thing back in !" I always try to explain, but most people are already too well set in their ways to listen. I'm glad to know of at least one lad who after speaking to me, returns every fish he catches.

It may not seem like much but at least it is a beginning

Many thanks to Sean Roberts for the use of this artical.

Visit Sean's web site