E-tagged ‘Judas’ carp track fish for commercial fisheries

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 4th April 2011

‘Judas’ carp are being used to locate their mates in an innovative project taking place in Western NSW, which aims to give commercial fishers a better idea of where carp aggregate to maximise their catch.

Industry & Investment NSW (I&I NSW) has been tracking the movements of a number of radio tagged carp in Lake Cargelligo since last year.

I&I NSW Senior Fisheries Technician at Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Martin Asmus, said I&I NSW are working with commercial fisher, Keith Bell, from K & C Fisheries Global Pty Ltd, to track the movements of the electronically tagged (Judas) carp.

“The aim is to give commercial fishers a more informed idea of where the carp aggregate or move depending on various environmental conditions such as water temperature, wind and air pressure.

“This knowledge will hopefully maximise the efficiency of their catch in terms of time and the amount of carp captured,” he said.

Although I&I NSW did not expect a big outcome in autumn, Mr Asmus said Judas carp would come into their own when winter and pre-spawning aggregations in early September were targeted.

The Judas method has been successfully used in Tasmania and overseas where carp usually form aggregations twice a year, first in spring for spawning and then again in winter. The Judas carp have led fishing crews directly to these locations.

Mr Bell said the project presented a good opportunity for the exchange of information, which would be very helpful for all parties involved.

“It presents a win-win situation for the environment and for commercial fishing,” he said.

This research builds on the work undertaken since 2007 by a collaborative team to establish a demonstration site in the lower Lachlan catchment to trial and show-case carp control technologies developed by the Commonwealth funded Invasive Animals CRC.

Partners in this research include I&I NSW, Lachlan Catchment Management Authority, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Department of Sustainability and Environment, State Water Corporation, Kingfisher Research Pty Ltd, the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and K & C Fisheries Global Pty Ltd.

Mr Asmus said the ‘Judas’ method was not a ‘silver bullet’ for carp control, but when used in conjunction with other carp control strategies, it demonstrated that it was possible to control carp over a sustained period of time.

“To date, hundreds of thousands of carp have been removed from the Lachlan catchment and plans are now in place to install a fourth carp separation cage at Lake Cargelligo,” he said.