Scottsdale Carp Trapping Program

In late 2014, Bush Heritage Australia (BHA) started a carp trapping program at their Scottsdale Reserve, trialling a new proto-type of bicatch reducing carp net developed by Dr Andrew Norris.  The aim of the trapping program is to reduce the effects of carp on native fish populations and aquatic ecosystems by ongoing localised trapping.

  

The trapping program was carried out by a trained team of Bush Heritage Australia volunteers, who successfully deployed and retrieved the trap.  The deployment of the trap showed that no bicatch was caught, despite the known presence of water rats, platypus and native fish (Macquarie perch, Murray cod and Trout cod) at the site.  

  The bicatch reducing carp net in the river

The trap was observed to attract schools of carp in response to regular feeding cues.  However, carp numbers caught in the trap reduced over time, due to carp escaping from the trap entrances.  A BHA volunteer has now been engaged to construct the entrances to the net from sturdier materials in order to prevent escape. 

In parallel to the trapping trial a team of BHA volunteers has developed a conceptual design for a thermal heating system which could be fitted to the bicatch reducing carp net.  This will provide a thermal attractant to lure carp into the net in winter, when trapping with a food cue is ineffective. The building of the concept is on hold until the bicatch reducing carp net can be shown to effectively trap carp.

Baseline monitoring of native fish has been conducted at the trapping site including electro fishing by NSW DPI (Fisheries) and ACT Government's Conservation, Planning and Research Unit and young of year sampling conducted by Assoc. Professor Mark Lintermans.  Water quality and macro invertebrate sampling is ongoing, carried out by Cooma Waterwatch volunteers. 

Murray cod recorded during native fish baseline survey  Dr Mark Lintermans setting off to check fyke nets during a young of year survey at Scottsdale