Carp bowfishing raises concerns

The Baird government has made a decision to allow a trial of the popular US-style hunting activity known as bowfishing in an effort to curb the population of the noxious carp fish.

DPI Game Licensing Unit Director, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said the trial follows a review of recreational saltwater and freshwater fishing rules in 2013, which included the proposal for bowfishing for carp in inland waters.

“Carp are an introduced freshwater species that have been declared a noxious fish in NSW and this pest species can have a significant impact on freshwater ecosystems through their detrimental impacts on native fish, aquatic plants, erosion and water quality.”


(image: Cyprinus carpio carpio (European carp) on the dry bed of Lake Albert in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia)
It would allow the trial in inland waters to target the overpopulation of carp which are a well-known pest because of their destructive bottom-feeding habits.  Like the decision to introduce cane toads into Australia from Hawaii in June 1935,  in an attempt to control the native grey-backed cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum) and Frenchi beetle (Lepidiota frenchi), the solution could be worse than the initial problem!

 The 18-month trial includes sections of rivers, creeks and streams in the Riverina, Central West, North West and Murray regions.  How would the success or not of this trial be evaluated?  The eventual success of the trial to be judged on the “feedback from the participants” – not the ecological impacts!

Ecologists have have expressed concerns about the difficulty in distinguishing carp from wildlife or native fish species, especially in turbid waters.  Wildlife such as the platypus, the native water rat, the water dragon, turtles and diving birds could be mistaken for carp.  They would be considered “collateral damage” or dismissed as “by-catch” and these accidents not reported!

Greens MP David Shoebridge said that “killing fish with bows and arrows is about as stupid and pointlessly dangerous as it sounds.“This will have no impact on the overall number of carp in our inland waterways and is clearly being put forward as some new ‘sport’ not as a serious control measure.” 
Sounds suspiciously like this new “sport” is using the overpopulation of carp fish to justify it’s launch, but will actual fact to little to reduce their numbers.

 The Australian Platypus Conservancy says the activity is merely an extension of hunting that could hurt platypus and the native water-rat.  Biologist Geoff Williams says
“It really is just an extension of hunting activities and in this particular case we really think the risks certainly outweigh the benefits, if any.“We certainly think it’s something that in this day and age is just unnecessary.”  He said carp and platypus were often mistaken. 
(featured image: "Platypus" by Stefan Kraft - Selbst fotografiert am 20.9.2004 im Sydney Aquarium.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons )


Urge the NSW Government to Overturn its Decision to Allow a Bow Fishing Trial – Natives Species Could be Put at Risk

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