​Media Release

Minister Joyce appoints ‘The Carpinator’

26 October 2016

  • Mr Matt Barwick appointed as national coordinator of the $15 million National Carp Control Plan
  • Plan will be developed by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC)
  • The next step is to evaluate the benefit of biological control of carp through the use of a species-specific virus

The war to rid our waterways of one of Australia's most devastating pests, the common carp, has received a boost today with the appointment of a national coordinator to develop the Coalition Government's $15 million National Carp Control Plan.

In making today's announcement, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the extensively qualified Mr Matt Barwick, dubbed 'the Carpinator', will head up the plan's development, in conjunction with the Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC), to be finalised by the end of 2018. 

"Trained in environmental science with years of experience and extensive networks in fisheries research and management in both the government and non-government sectors, Matt is perfectly placed to take on the role as 'Carpinator' to coordinate and develop this important program," Minister Joyce said.

"Matt will work with a range of state and federal government departments, as well as non-government stakeholders including researchers, industry and environmental organisations, recreational fishers, Indigenous and community groups, tourism operators and landholders to develop the plan.

"CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Invasive Animals CRC have put in years of work to assess this biological control measure, the carp herpes virus, to put a stop to the pest.

"Carp can cause damage of up to $500 million per year by lowering water quality of domestic and irrigation water supplies, damaging wetlands, impacting upon agriculture, commercial and recreational fisheries, regional tourism industries, and harming native fish populations and river health.

"The Coalition Government's National Carp Control Plan is a visionary initiative.  The next step is to carefully look at what we know and evaluate whether the biological control of carp through use of the carp herpes virus will deliver the expected benefits.

"In particular we are assessing whether the virus will effectively deliver a significant reduction in carp impacts to achieve our goal of a 95% reduction in carp by 2045 at an acceptable cost.

"I look forward to working closely with Matt and the FRDC as they embark on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to manage one of the country's worst pests that costs our national economy up to $500 million per year, for the good of our precious waterways and natural resources."

​Fast facts

  • Carp are present in all states and territories except the Northern Territory and are estimated to comprise 80-90 per cent of the total fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin (Environmental Protection Authority 2015).
  • The annual cost of carp in Australia is estimated at up to $500 million per year (report to the Murray Darling Basin Authority, 2010).
  • The government is investing $15 million over 2.5 years in the National Carp Control Plan.
  • The $15 million National Carp Control Plan is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Department of Environment and Energy and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
  • The earliest possible release date for carp herpesvirus, pending approvals, is late 2018.
  • The total biomass of carp in our waterways is estimated between 500,000 and 2 million tonnes.