Isn't this one of the best looking beasts you've ever seen?
The fish, not the bloke.
It's a female common carp and very possibly the last one in Tasmania's Lake Crescent.
Moron or moron(s) unknown introduced carp into Lakes Crescent and Sorell north of Hobart in the early- to mid-1990s. They were probably using fingerling carp as bait, and new genetic evidence shows they probably brought the fish from NSW's Wyangala Dam.
Thirteen years of effort, a decade of the lakes closed for angling and millions of dollars of taxpayers funds were the result. A total of 7797 carp have been removed from Lake Crescent, with less than one female per year for the last five years (compared with 725 in the previous 4.5 years). Everything known to man has been tried to eradicate the carp: gill nets; fyke nets; tracking fish to find aggregations; electrofishing; trapping in marshlands and even a bit of trying to attract them in with sexy potential mates.
Our (hopefully) last female was attracted to a spawning aggregation in December last year during the only significant rain event a few days before Christmas. Male tracking fish were used to locate her. Of course we can't be absolutely sure she is the last female until a series of aggregation events occur with no girls showing up. Although she wasn't actually spawning on this event, she was carrying over half a million eggs! That goes to show how important it is to persist with the program.
Tasmania's Inland Fisheries Service staff deserve a lot of praise for this well carried out eradication program. The job is not done yet, and they need continuing support, but at this stage things are looking very positive. This last picture is in case you might think their job is a cushy one: getting to fish all day. I'm not sure when the the carp catchers were hit by this snow flurry, and I know my Minnesota friends will think it's a walk in the park, but in Tasmania it could be close to the height of summer.
Thanks to Scott Hardie for the photos.