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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 57(3)

Large, regulated forest floodplain is an ideal recruitment zone for non-native common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.)

Ivor G. Stuart A B, Matthew Jones A

A Freshwater Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 123 Brown St, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: ivor.stuart@dse.vic.gov.au
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Non-native common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) are the most abundant large-bodied fish in the Murray–Darling Basin. The abundance of common carp larvae and young-of-the-year appears to increase after flooding, although the relative contribution of floodplain habitats compared to riverine areas remains unresolved. Larval nets were used monthly from September 2000 to January 2001 to identify common carp spawning and recruitment areas in the regulated Murray River and floodplain around the Barmah–Millewa forest. Five non-native and five native fish species comprising 136?111 individuals were collected, with common carp constituting 88% of the overall catch. Less than 1% of common carp, however, originated from the Murray River upstream of the Barmah–Millewa floodplain. Consequently, this floodplain appears to be a major source of common carp recruitment in the mid-Murray area. Conversely, eggs from large-bodied native fish were only present in the Murray River and not the Barmah floodplain. There are opportunities for common carp control in this area, to potentially reduce populations in a wider river reach. Implementation of common carp control measures in the Barmah–Millewa floodplain should be further investigated, particularly with regard to seasonal irrigation flows, obligatory migration routes and in the timing of future large-scale environmental water allocations.

Keywords: Australia, Barmah–Millewa forest, floodplain, lake, Murray River.

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