The Australian government is giving carp herpes.
Science Minister Christopher Pyne called the plan to eradicate about 95 percent of European carp in the country’s river system “carp-aggedon,” ABC reported.
“It affects the European carp by attacking their kidneys, their skin, their gills and stopping them breathing effectively,” Pyne said. ‘They have the virus for a week before they show any symptoms and it suddenly kills them within 24 hours.”
Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce said the carps’ ability to reproduce en masse made them the “rabbits of our waterways.”
The strain of herpes is set to be released in 2018 so the government can plan for the virus’ impact. The program will cost $15 million, most of which will go to getting rid of the dead fish.
“Suddenly, there will be literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of tonnes of carp that will be dead in the River Murray,” Pyne said.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said no other species of fish are known to be affected by herpes. Carp who have been innoculated with a weakened strain of the virus have caused no reported incidents with humans who have consumed the fish.