Listen, look 'n' log the love

carp in a breeding frenzy near some reeds

Listen, look and log feral carp ‘getting it on’ this spring.

With the dawning of a vibrant spring, it’s true to say that love is in the air.

Nature has turned its collective mind to the most basic instinct of all, to propagate, to breed, to replicate its genetic makeup.

Feral carp are certainly no exception during this season for natural love making. Carp, however, are the bane of our waterways. They are to our precious aquatic ecosystems what rabbits are to the land. They are a serial pest. And we are on the lookout for ways to stop them. Carp make up more than 85 per cent of the biomass in our waterways, causing significant environmental degradation.

As an example, as part of the remarkable Healthy Waterways project, almost four tonnes of carp were removed from two ponds in Tuggeranong. Sadly, hardly any native fish were found. As the water temperature warms so does the carp’s wanton desire to reproduce.

Waterwatch is urging us to report sightings of this pest species ‘getting it on’ as part of their annual Carp Love 20°C campaign. This wonderful grass roots community program derives its origins from carp’s tendency to display breeding behaviour as things literally hot up across the bush capital.

Don’t be shy. We need everyone to be on the look-out for carp doing what only comes naturally.

The carp lurk along the water’s edge seeking shelter amongst the secluded river bank vegetation. They wait with one thing on their communal minds, then when the time is right, explode into a splashing breeding frenzy of excited anticipation. They make such a racket you’ll often hear them before you see them.

Mapping these breeding hotspots is critical in appreciating carp’s reproduction behaviour, identifying opportunities for possible biological control including, into the future, the carp herpes virus.

To garner broader community awareness everyone is encouraged to photograph or share a video of all this spring carp fervour on various social media platforms from the ACT Landcare and Waterwatch Facebook page through to Twitter handle @ACTLandWater using the hashtag #carplove20.

Sharing these images is a way to spread the word about carp breeding hot spots, educating the community as to what to look for and helping the research.

Plus, you could secure your very own free ‘Carp Love 20°C’ t-shirt.

To play your part in this wonderful citizen scientist project, remember the three L’s of a carp breeding season. Listen for splashing, Look for carp and Log your sightings at feralfishscan.org.au.

Photo courtesy of Wendy Ruscoe

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared on 9 October 2018 in The Chronicle