Aussie fishermen are packing their carp fishing rods and flocking to the Burrendong Dam in central New South Wales for some serious angling. Their quarry – the mighty Duke of Burrendong, a specially tagged carp that carries a $16,000 bounty on it’s head.
Here in the UK, carp are revered by anglers. We catch them, pose for a quick photo and then it’s back into the water with them – unharmed. Not so down under.
In Australia, carp is an invasive species that has all but wiped out native fish in the waterways in which it swims. But a fightback is in progress. Carlton, brewers of good old Aussie beer have marked a fish and put a bounty on it that increases $100 every week the creature evades capture.
As of early January, the fish had still not been caught. And because anglers receive money off tokens redeemable on cartons and blocks of beer, one for every carp removed from the dam, catches have been high – and environmentalists cheered.
So far, over 750 carp have been caught. But while the thought of a massacre of carp on this scale might make the average British angling enthusiast blanche, it marks a significant success on the part of Australian environmentalists.
As well as decimating the populations of native fish, carp impact on water quality in the dam. In fact, the common carp, though endangered in European and Asian waterways, is listed on the World Conservation Congress list of the 100 most damaging invasive species. The restoration of indigenous ecosystems is of paramount importance to the Australians – but as efforts to eradicate the fish in the United States have shown, once established, they’re are incredibly tough to eradicate.
Putting negative thoughts to one side, what better way to restock the dam, than by encouraging Aussies in their love not just of fishing but beer drinking too? Carlton, the brewer is not only offering the bounty on the marked carp, but has pledged to put a native fish back in the water for every block or carton of its beer bought before Australia day on 26th January.
Enjoy this poetic explanation and invitation to join in: