Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

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

Ivor G. Stuart A B and Matthew Jones A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

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:

Marine and Freshwater Research 57(3) 337-347
Submitted: 28 February 2005  Accepted: 8 February 2006   Published: 27 April 2006


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.

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


From the Arthur Rylah Institute we sincerely thank John McKenzie, John Mahoney and Justin O’Mahony for expert technical assistance in the field. We also thank John Koehn and Tim O’Brien for initiating, supporting and contributing to the project. We are grateful to John Koehn, Martin Mallen-Cooper and two anonymous referees for comments that improved the manuscript. Thanks to Matthew Dale and Tarmo Raadik for counting and identifying all the fish. Our thanks to Terry Holt and Alan Williams, Goulburn Murray Water, for the carp information from Torrumbarry Weir fishway. Funding was provided by Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Australia under the Fish Rehab 2000 initiative.


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