Scientists in Britain have raised concerns about Australia’s A$15 million plan to release a herpes virus in the nation’s largest river system to eradicate carp, saying it poses a serious risk to global food security, could cause “catastrophic ecosystem crashes” in Australia, and is unlikely to control carp numbers long term.
[Laboratory tests] cannot rule out the possibility of cross-infection
In a letter published in the Nature Ecology and Evolution journal this week, University of East Anglia researchers Dr Jackie Lighten and Prof Cock van Oosterhout say the “irreversible high-risk proposal” could have “serious ecological, environmental, and economic ramifications”.
The Australian government allocated A$15m in the 2016 budget to a national carp control plan, centred around a plan to release the koi herpes virus into the Murray-Darling river system to kill common carp, or Cyprinus carpio.
It followed extensive research by the CSIRO, which conducted seven years of tests to ensure that native fish, …