What is the NSW government doing about carp?

Legal status

Carp are listed as a Class 3 noxious species in NSW under the noxious species provisions of the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

Unlike Class 1 and 2 species - which are subject to different rules - Class 3 species such as carp may still be kept in aquaria, garden ponds and farm dams, and may still be bought and sold. This listing recognises the fact that wild carp are a commercial fisheries species and koi carp are an important ornamental fish in NSW. However, NSW Department of Primary Industries aims, through education and awareness-raising, to prevent the further spread of carp.

Carp have also been listed as a noxious species in Victoria and Queensland, a declared exotic species in South Australia, and a controlled fish in Tasmania. Their importation is prohibited by the Commonwealth government.

Control plan

NSW Department of Primary Industries has recently finalised a NSW control plan for carp. A draft control plan was released for public comment from November 2009 through January 2010.  Comments received on the draft have been taken into consideration and incorporated where possible in the development of the final control plan.

The control plan consolidates up-to-date information about the biology and impacts of carp and outlines what is being done, or should be done, to stop further spread, control the size of populations, better understand carp and increase the understanding and involvement of the community.

Commercial fishery

Between 1999 and 2001 the NSW government funded a Carp Assessment and Reduction Program to encourage the commercial utilisation of wild carp and coordinate community carp control efforts.

This program encouraged inland commercial fishers to harvest carp; supported recreational carp fishing competitions; researched carp control methods; researched the distribution of carp in NSW; and provided education programs for community groups.

Although the program has now concluded, Industry & Investment NSW continues to support the Inland Restricted Fishery for carp.

Aquatic habitat rehabilitation

Native seedlings for riparin rehabilitation work

Protection and restoration of aquatic habitats can help to tip the balance in favour of native fish and away from introduced pests such as carp.

NSW Department of Primary Industries is involved in a large number of aquatic habitat rehabilitation projects funded by local, State or Federal bodies including Local Land Services, Councils, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

These projects include actions such as replanting riparian (riverbank) areas, returning woody debris (‘snags’) to rivers as fish habitat, and building structures such as fish ladders to allow fish to pass in-stream barriers (eg. weirs). Some projects also incorporate direct carp management actions such as carp ‘fishouts’ or ‘musters’.


Aquatic revegation at Namoi River

NSW Department of Primary Industries is also undertaking a range of research projects targeting carp, including collecting baseline population data, determining critical locations for carp recruitment, and investigating the effectiveness of different control techniques.

Some NSW Department of Primary Industries projects are funded by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which has a significant freshwater program to tackle freshwater pest fish, particularly carp. The CRC is also funding research being carried out by other organisations, including work on potential future control methods such as ‘daughterless carp’ technology and koi herpes virus.

NSW Department of Primary Industries researchers are also contributing to the former Lachlan Catchment Management Authority’s River Revival – Lachlan River Carp Cleanup project (now Local Land Services), which aims to significantly reduce carp numbers in the river using a variety of control methods, particularly targeting ‘hot-spot’ areas where carp congregate to breed.