"CARP-AGGEDON"
May 4, 2016 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Australia plans to release a strain of herpes that targets invasive carp into the Murray River. "Suddenly, there will be literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of tonnes of carp that will be dead in the River Murray."
This can't possibly go wrong, amirite?
posted by yeahlikethat (59 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was at a scientific talk on controlling Cane Toads a few years ago and it was mentioned that of the 132 (from memory) controlled releases of organisms in Australia to "fix" some problem, all but one had gone badly wrong and had been unsuccessful in achieving the original aim. Good luck!
posted by drnick at 10:33 PM on May 4, 2016 [21 favorites]


"So there is up to 58 million individual carp that are eaten for breakfast in Israel every day, with this virus, and there's never been a single documented human health issue."
So, each Israeli (all 8 million of them) eats an average of over 7 carp for breakfast, every single day! Perhaps Australia should be introducing Israelis instead?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 10:45 PM on May 4, 2016 [125 favorites]


I was rather hoping we were releasing a strain of herpes to address the populations of feral Ministers currently running unchecked through the fragile Australian ecosystem. Sigh. Biological control just isn't what it's cracked up to be.
posted by langtonsant at 10:50 PM on May 4, 2016 [15 favorites]


up to?
posted by flippant at 10:50 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can confirm, I used to live in Israel and I still have heaving, shuddering nightmares about the Carp Devices.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:50 PM on May 4, 2016 [15 favorites]


And yet they confiscate my non-diary instant coffee because Malaysia apparently has a mad cow problem I've heard of.

(Yes I'm still bitter)
posted by divabat at 11:03 PM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here is the Deputy PM speaking in the House of Representatives on the matter. [Whimpers]
posted by hawthorne at 11:17 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


This sounds controversial, but I understand that the Federal Government has asked Johnny Depp to do PSA, which will get everyone on-side with the plan. Australians are warm and erect, and with added herpes and Depp's charismatic salesmanship, our Crap's future has never been more unbiosecure!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:25 PM on May 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


In fairness although it's Pyne announcing this it's the CSIRO actually doing it and they will have thought it through. For a previous example by them of successful species introduction see the Australian Dung Beetle project - okay it was to combat the problems caused by another introduced species (cattle) but was an outstanding success.

It's all right for all of you, I live in Pyne's constituency - I have to interact with my neighbours and community knowing there's a reasonable chance that people I'm talking to voted for him :(
posted by coleboptera at 11:35 PM on May 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


hawthorne: "Here is the Deputy PM speaking in the House of Representatives on the matter. [Whimpers]"

Oh for the love of ... can someone explain to me why Barnaby Joyce is not somehow forbidden by the constitution? Surely there is some way in which doctrine of representative government can be used to justify an implied right to Barnaby-free political speech? The High Court has really dropped the ball on this.
posted by langtonsant at 11:38 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh cool a new initialisation of MDC - Millions of Dead Carp!
posted by awfurby at 11:45 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Are there any stories where introducing non-native species X to kill problematic species Y doesn't end with terrible, unintended consequences? I feel like it's probably selection bias that I've only heard about disastrous outcomes of previous eradication efforts (cane toads in particular), but I really don't know. Any biologists have an example of an intentional foreign species introduction that went totally great and now everything is super?
posted by slagheap at 11:54 PM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, each Israeli (all 8 million of them) eats an average of over 7 carp for breakfast, every single day!

Carp makes very good gefilte fish. My local store uses Murray Perch, but I think that's bland and mushy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:19 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This post is appears to be against introducing a virus to control an invasive species, but then links to an article that says: "Australia’s biocontrol programs using Myxoma virus in 1950 and the Rabbit Calicivirus in 1995 have been extremely successful in drastically reducing pest rabbit numbers in Australia" for support?
posted by markr at 12:48 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This paper is quite good But limited to release of non-native herbivores to control invasive plants. Not kyung elf hut my impression is that vertebrate releases are not thought of seriously any more, but that pathogenic and specialist herbivore release are taken very seriously indeed.
posted by cromagnon at 1:44 AM on May 5, 2016


Are there any stories where introducing non-native species X to kill problematic species Y doesn't end with terrible, unintended consequences?

From what I've heard, introducing tamarisk beetles to eat back the invasive tamarisk that was out-competing native riverside species in the desert southwest has been successful so far. Minor issues with stretches of dead tamarisk while native riparian plants re-grow, but an overall success.
posted by JiBB at 1:52 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well, coleboptera, I have to ask:

Have You Punched Christopher Pyne Today?
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 2:05 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Have You Punched Christopher Pyne Today?

No. But I would like to?
posted by deadwax at 2:10 AM on May 5, 2016


More seriously, I'm unaware of any problems around myxi or calici apart from the fact they didn't kill all the rabbits but only most of them.
posted by deadwax at 2:13 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's the beautiful part: when winter comes, the herpes just freezes to death.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:40 AM on May 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


So, each Israeli (all 8 million of them) eats an average of over 7 carp for breakfast, every single day! Perhaps Australia should be introducing Israelis instead?

You are Ken Livingstone and I claim my prize.
posted by atrazine at 2:55 AM on May 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I would just like to go one solitary fucking week without being embarrassed by my fucking government. I mean, what the fuck, Barnaby. Do you have any idea what you sound like? Screaming 'CAAARP!' into a microphone? Do you have any idea what you look like? You look like a bloody maniac.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:29 AM on May 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Although, I suppose that's because he is a bloody maniac.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:37 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is probably the best 'Barnaby is a crazed fish sex criminal' photo, care of the excellent Fairfox photographer Andrew Ellinghausen.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:57 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why in the hell ISN'T there a campaign to get people to eat the carp instead? Instead of hundreds of thousands of dead carp as pollutants in a river, that could be hundreds of thousands of pounds of FOOD, which, if it were eaten would also be removing the carp from the river.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:06 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I fucking hate this country some days. I spent 36 years living in cities and towns that are in some way deeply dependent on the continued health of the Murray-Darling basin and this is the quality of public discussion we have? We have a terrible history of not getting these decisions right as a nation but we also have a dedicated and competent organisation in the CSIRO trying to make the hard calls in a responsible way. And our public discussion is Barnaby Joyce yelling childish taunts in Question Time and Christopher Pyne being allowed outside in daylight hours. I have no words that properly capture my dismay.
posted by langtonsant at 4:12 AM on May 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


How do you explain on your dating profile that you went swimming and caught herpes from a fish?
posted by Dip Flash at 4:21 AM on May 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Here is the Deputy PM speaking in the House of Representatives on the matter. [Whimpers]

This is... not some comedy skit? You're jerking my chain.
posted by cj_ at 4:32 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't know about carp but it is comforting to read all this and know that Australia's politicians are just as much useless clowns as ours in the USA, and especially NJ. Maybe we should send over Chris Christie to eat all the carp, or Trump to build a wall in the river to keep them confined.
posted by mermayd at 4:38 AM on May 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Here is the Deputy PM yt speaking in the House of Representatives on the matter. [Whimpers]

This is great. He's drunk, right? Or is he like this all the time?
posted by Ella Fynoe at 4:46 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why in the hell ISN'T there a campaign to get people to eat the carp instead?

Well, I make gefilte fish from it because chopping it up finely lets me avoid getting rid of all the bones. Carp seems to have more bones than other fish; I wouldn't even try to filet it. And it has a distinctive taste, and I find I only like gefilte fish a couple of times a year. I've heard that lots of people in China like it, but I have no idea what they do with it. Not gefilte, is my guess.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 AM on May 5, 2016


This is... not some comedy skit? You're jerking my chain.

It is not; that was Question Time in the House of Representatives. And we are not.

He's drunk, right? Or is he like this all the time?


Dog help us, but he's like that all the time.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:12 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


He's drunk, right?

unfortunately no. i mean, probably not. well, look, it's barnaby joyce okay? science doesn't really have the tools to address what's going on here. intoxication, malice, stupidity, parasitic mind control, it's all a rich tapestry.
posted by langtonsant at 5:13 AM on May 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Anyone ever tried to eat the Murray carp?

The basic recipe is to gut the carp, boil it, and then bury it, and hope the worms don't die consuming it.

It's the most awful fish you can imagine.

I am not sure it's still the case but when I was a boy in south Australia it was illegal to throw a live carp back in the Murray river if you caught one.

It's a hugely destructive fish. And is bloody awful.

Good riddance to it
posted by Bluepenguin05 at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


Don't know about carp but it is comforting to read all this and know that Australia's politicians are just as much useless clowns as ours in the USA, and especially NJ.

The worst thing about this, is that the science seems pretty solid and the project is actually very important. But Barnaby only cared about slinging thinly veiled desperately unfunny insults at the Labor opposition.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2016



Are there any stories where introducing non-native species X to kill problematic species Y doesn't end with terrible, unintended consequences?


Cactoblastis moth
posted by smoke at 5:24 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The CSIRO has literally spent years testing and planning for this; they've recently talked about it on their blog.

Apart from the risk to ornamental koi, it seems like there is negligible risk to native species.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:33 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, each Israeli (all 8 million of them) eats an average of over 7 carp for breakfast, every single day!

Carps Georg?
posted by citands at 5:46 AM on May 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


I would think lots of dead fish could then be harvested as fertilizer? And hopefully not lead to some other terrible problem?

I mean, there's no reason to waste all that perfectly good dead fish when you have crops to grow.

Unless in Australia that leads to an explosion in the population of giant, people-eating spiders.

(As I assume most things do in Australia.)
posted by emjaybee at 6:17 AM on May 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe we should send over Chris Christie to eat all the carp, or Trump to build a wall in the river to keep them confined.

Clearly Trump is the answer here, because he will make the carp pay for the building of the wall. Problem solved!
posted by telepanda at 6:46 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, each Israeli (all 8 million of them) eats an average of over 7 carp for breakfast, every single day! Perhaps Australia should be introducing Israelis instead?

You've succumbed to the ol' ecological fallacy here. It's well-known that members of the deeply orthodox and hermeneutic Cyprianic sect (the so-called "Gefiltevitchers") regularly consume at least 777 carp for breakfast every day, whereas the rest of the Israeli population, hardly any at all.
posted by xigxag at 6:54 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


How do you explain on your dating profile that you went swimming and caught herpes from a fish?


“Caught herpes from a fish whilst swimming” could be the new “slipped in the shower and landed on the wine bottle/remote control”
posted by acb at 6:55 AM on May 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


I thought that the solution to carp is to fillet it and fry it. The only fish I don't fry are redfish, salmon and the like. I've eaten crappies and perch, and if you fry 'em up shore style, they're tolerable.
posted by Sphinx at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2016


So this will kill 95% of the carp population in Australia. And let's assume that it will not harm any other species. Quick math/biology question: How many generations will it take for carp immune to this disease to rebound to current population levels? (Extra credit: was the Myxoma release successful when it was tried in the 50's?)

Eating carp sounds like the campaigns to make eating Nutria an acceptable idea. And the swamp rats apparently can be quite tasty.
posted by Hactar at 7:26 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The basic recipe is to gut the carp, boil it, and then bury it, and hope the worms don't die consuming it.
It's the most awful fish you can imagine.


Maybe that's why the Israelis apparently eat so many of them. An entire cuisine based on guilt... shudder.
posted by Naberius at 7:37 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The initial myxoma release killed off up to 99.8% of the wild rabbit population, according to this paper on (guess what!) myxoma resistance. Thing is, the survivors (i.e. the ones are naturally resistant to the virus) started breeding like, well, rabbits, and soon you're back up to 300 million rabbits only now they're all resistant to myxoma so let's try bunny ebola this time and hopefully we can manage it well enough to hold them back for a few more years, lather rinse repeat.

I get that with a problem of this size you use whatever weapons you can find but I'm skeptical because it's basically the same processes that created the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the current recommendations to address that basically "stop using so many goddamn antibiotics and wash your hands more".
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:17 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's nice they we have so many non-Australians who know more about wildlife management then the Australian ecologists do.

This reminds me of the people who were the Channel Islands pig eradication program. It had a similar "people should not try to remediate in the areas massively impacted by human activity" attitude, and a bunch of wealthy out-of towners funding a campaign and lawsuits to save the feral pigs.

There's an attitude I think, that nature is self correcting, that all one needs to do to fix a disrupted ecosystem is just leave it alone. Of course if we had done that in the Channel Islands, the Island Foxes would be extinct now.
posted by happyroach at 8:29 AM on May 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


herpegeddon?
posted by gusandrews at 9:18 AM on May 5, 2016


wouldn't it be cheaper to offer a bounty on carp instead and just let the problem solve itself? i realize that there are not a lot of handguns in australia but surely you could popularize some other form of recreational violence. bow hunting for fish?
posted by poffin boffin at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


oh or dynamite obviously
posted by poffin boffin at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tasers.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:50 PM on May 5, 2016


happyroach, I'm in agreement with you, although the degree of intervention is another interesting discussion. I see a lot of parallels with debates about how far medicine should go, and there are certainly folks who think that all you need to do to cure cancer is eat well and get plenty of sleep.

I'm not arguing against intervention (or that this isn't the least-worst available solution), only wondering what unexpected consequences will turn up this time.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:56 PM on May 5, 2016


"… and Christopher Pyne being allowed outside in daylight hours."
You'd prefer they only let him out at night?
"There's an attitude I think, that nature is self correcting, that all one needs to do to fix a disrupted ecosystem is just leave it alone. Of course if we had done that in the Channel Islands, the Island Foxes would be extinct now."
Ignoring the "Save the [insert appealing invasive/destructive species here]!" side of the argument: there's also the PoV - not uncommon amongst actual ecologists - that we can't "fix" the disrupted ecosystem, at least in terms of "returning it to it's 'natural' state". All we can do is shift it to a different equilibrium that's less self-destructive &/or more aesthetically pleasing.
posted by Pinback at 3:16 PM on May 5, 2016


Fertilizer. Stinky, stinky fertilizer.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:33 PM on May 5, 2016


I mean, there's no reason to waste all that perfectly good dead fish when you have crops to grow.

The carp are already caught to be used in fertiliser, and part of this plan involves harvesting the dead carp to be used for fertiliser.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:12 PM on May 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Pinback: "You'd prefer they only let him out at night?"

Absolutely. His true form is visible (requires SAN check) in starlight and he becomes vulnerable to nonmagical weapons.
posted by langtonsant at 7:45 PM on May 5, 2016


wouldn't it be cheaper to offer a bounty on carp instead and just let the problem solve itself?

Has a bounty ever been successful at eliminating an invasive species (as compared to all the native species where bounties were very effective, of course)? I know bounties are used in this area for some invasives like pikeminnow, but it hasn't come close to eliminating those populations.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:56 PM on May 5, 2016


wouldn't it be cheaper to offer a bounty on carp instead and just let the problem solve itself?

There are millions of carp and Boba Fett is only one man.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:26 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bounties can have unintended consequences.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect
posted by bystander at 1:15 AM on May 6, 2016


« Older Chronic pain management, opioids and addiction   |   Ancient ink Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments