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Australia will use the herpes virus to eradicate its out-of-control carp population

Australia will use the herpes virus to eradicate its out-of-control carp population

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The Australian government has committed $15 million (about $11.4 million US) of its federal budget to help eradicate the country's carp population, The Guardian reports. The budget will go toward a plan that will introduce a carp-specific herpes virus into Australia's river system. Australia is currently in the middle of what science minister Christopher Pyne reportedly called "carp-aggedon."

Scientists from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have been testing the virus, known as CyHV-3, for seven years to make sure it won't have any unintended consequences on Australia's ecosystem. CSIRO has tested the virus on several of the country's native fish and other animals, according to The Guardian. The virus will be introduced into the country's freshwater system in stages, which will be overseen by a task force.


The virus will reportedly take around seven days to have a noticeable impact on a fish, when it will destroy the carp's skin and kidneys. Around 24 hours after a carp presents these symptoms, it will die, according to The Guardian. If this makes you feel sad, you should know that carp are an invasive species that harm the country's native wildlife, mostly by consuming their sources of food. Australia's government estimates the economic impact of carp to be around $500 million per year, according to The Guardian.

Carp is one of the most common freshwater fish in the world, because the species is able to tolerate many different habitats and living conditions. Adult carp have no natural predators. "The common carp is a nasty pest in our waterways and makes up 80 percent of fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin," Pyne said in an announcement, according to The Guardian.

The government hopes the virus will kill 95 percent of the river's carp population over the next three decades, according to ABC News.