Load of carp - Centennial Parklands

One of the most beautiful features of Centennial Parklands is undoubtedly its ponds. However, beneath the surface lurks a pest that is damaging not only to those ponds, but other life living beneath – carp.

European carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a freshwater fish native to Asia. Like many pests in Australia it was intentionally introduced to Australia as an ornamental and aquaculture fish (if only we could have had 20/20 hindsight on that one!).

Today they have spread throughout waterways across south-eastern Australia.

So, what’s the problem with carp?

Carp degrade the water quality of our ponds, is a prolific breeder and reduces the survival chances for native fish.

It increases turbidity (that is the term for the ‘muddiness’ created by stirring up sediment) preventing light penetration into the water. Less light penetration affects plant growth, which is a valuable food source for native fish, and contributes to erosion of the banks of the ponds.

It is also suggested that this turbidity impact may increases the likelihood of algal blooms (by preying on animals that eat algae, stirring up nutrients trapped in bottom sediments, damaging aquatic plants, and reducing plant growth via greater such turbidity). Read about even more impacts here.

The world-record certificate

The world-record certificate

A world record!

In 2008 one of our volunteer fishermen, Paul Cooper, caught what was later to be certified as a world record fish in Centennial Park (later certified in 2010).

OK, well what are we doing about this problem?

Fishing is not permitted in Centennial Parklands, except as part of a supervised program. There are numerous activities we undertake to control and reduce the carp levels in Centennial Parklands’ ponds, including:

  • A coordinated program of line fishing: using traditional fishing methods, we are selectively removing carp. This is considered more effective than wider-impact activities such as netting, which risks catching native and non-targeted fish and aquatic life. THe program uses purpose-made barbless hooks and all participants undergo a strict induction and are overseen by the Australian National Sports Fishing Association.
  • Native bass fish release: through support funding, we have released more than 15,000 native bass fingerlings over the last three years. These Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) predate upon young carp and have shown effective results at reducing the number of juvenile carp in the ponds.
  • Research: we are also involved in a Scientific Management Tagging Program, under the auspices of the University of Western Sydney, involving a catch-tag-release approach. Tagging allows the monitoring of individual fish and the documentation of distribution, abundance and growth. The data gathered helps is to understand how to best manage the population into the future.
  • Therapy: one of the nicest behind-the-scenes stories is the Fishing 4 Therapy program, that combines pest eradication with providing opportunities for people with disabilities to experience a therapeutic activity. And it’s really reaping rewards – read more here.
We've pulled over 10 tonnes of carp out of Centennial Park's ponds since 1998!

We’ve pulled over 10 tonnes of carp out of Centennial Park’s ponds since 1998!

How else are we improving the ponds?

Removal of the European carp is just one way we are improving the water quality in the Parklands’ pond system. Other activities include:

  • Planting of native water grasses
  • Pond bank restoration / stabilisation
  • Installation of gross pollutant traps at the Parklands’ stormwater entry points

We also use this problem for education!

As part of our hands-on community education programs, we regularly run fishing clinics for kids that aim to educate kids on pest management while teaching them a new life skill. Check our What’s On for the next program dates.

Fishing 4 Therapy won a Parks Award in 2012

Fishing 4 Therapy won a Parks Award in 2012

 


Looking after a 360 hectare public parklands is a complex challenge – particularly managing the natural environment. Find out more about our environmental management practices here.

 

Similar Articles

  • Discovering the art of Shinrin-yoku

    Living in a city has many wonderful things to offer, but the fast-paced work and modern lifestyle can be stressful and draining on your mental and physical health. Discover how to combat stress through the art of Shinrin-yoku ‘forest bathing’

  • Discover the Bunya Pines of Centennial Parklands

    Centennial Parklands is home to about 15,000 trees across Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park. There are Australian figs, evergreen oaks, exotic pines, eucalypts and paperbark trees peppered throughout the Park that visitors enjoy all year round.  Many people ask us about one of the more unique trees planted in the Park, the Bunya […]

  • Have you seen a turtle in Centennial Parklands?

    There are about 23 native species of freshwater turtles across Australian and seven species of native freshwater turtle can be found in NSW. Centennial Park is lucky to have two native species of freshwater turtles in our ponds and waterways. The Sydney basin turtle (Emydura macquarii) and the snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) can sometimes be […]

  • 5 reasons to get your kids outside for Nature Play Week

    Nature play is not just outdoor play. It’s child-directed play that happens in a natural space, such as a park or garden. Whilst going to a playground can be fun, it doesn’t put them into contact with nature and offers a different set of benefits. Here are 5 reasons why you should get your kids outside during the school holidays!