A monster 9kg carp has been pulled out of a Bega lagoon prompting warnings to Far South Coast fishers to keep an eye out for the priority pest.
There have been fears that the introduced European pest would increase in local waters and the South East Local Land Services biosecurity team have been working with local fishers to monitor the emerging carp population.
Biological samples are being collected and sent to researchers at Queensland University of Technology to determine which species of carp are turning up and where.
It was on a recent 'sampling trip' that the team cought a 76cm, 9 kg female specimen laden with over 1,000,000 eggs.
Carp are not a catch and release fish, we really don't want people returning them to the water, which is why we want to let people know about the disposal options available to them.Andrew Michelin senior biosecurity officer South East Local Land Services.
"This catch really sums up just how much of a risk these fish pose to our waterways and why they are so successful" said senior biosecurity officer Andrew Michelin.
Carp are bottom feeders whose habits and movement cause turbidity and impact water quality. They also prey on native fish and are highly successful breeders. The disturbance they cause can also have downstream impacts for oyster growers and the wider community who enjoy the waterways.
"We have been working with local fishing groups to try and get a sense of the population in the local area,
"We encourage anyone who sees or catches a carp to record it in the FeralScan app, which can be downloaded for free, to your smart phone or device.
"This information can help us get an idea of the extent of the issue and develop plans to try and tackle it."
Fishers who do catch a carp are encouraged not to return them to the water, but to euthanize them humanely and dispose of them appropriately.
"Carp are not a catch and release fish, we really don't want people returning them to the water, which is why we want to let people know about the disposal options available to them," said Mr Michelin.
Bega Valley Shire Council provides two simple disposal methods, FOGO and the fish waste recycling bins located at boat ramps across the Bega Valley where fishers can dispose of all fish waste including carp waste. These disposal methods turn this waste product into a valuable resource, compost, Mr Michelin said.
"We know that it can be a hassle to dispose of unwanted fish and we also know how important it is not to return carp to waterways, so by supporting this initiative we are hopefully making it easier for people to do the best thing for the local environment" said Joley Vidau, waste management co-ordinator for Bega Valley Shire Council.