Australia wants to wipe out carp with herpes

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Story highlights

  • Barnaby Joyce wants to eradicate "disgusting" carp
  • The Australian government plan on wiping out carp by using a form of the herpes virus

(CNN)Not content with telling Jonny Depp's dogs to "bugger off," Australia's new Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has moved onto his next target ... carp.

Joyce announced during a robust speech to a rowdy -- but entertained -- parliament that the only way to get rid of these "disgusting, bottom-dwelling, mud-sucking creatures" was to unleash a form of the herpes virus on them.
    He then flew into an impassioned, if slightly bizarre, tirade that the internet immediately jumped on with glee.
    It appeared that for the first -- and probably only -- time, carp became the most popular fish in Australia.

    Carp diem

    Infecting carp with herpes might seem like an overreaction, but on May 1 "Carpageddon" became official policy.
    In an AUD$15 million ($11.4 million) plan to wipe the species out, the federal government announced that it will potentially release cyprinid herpesvirus (carp herpesvirus) into Australian waterways in 2018.
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    CSIRO calls carp the "most invasive and damaging pests" of Australia's freshwater ecosystems. First introduced in Australia in 1859, carp became a major problem in the 1960s, after the accidental release of a strain that had been adapted for fish farming.
    The female carp produces up to a million eggs per year -- or as CSIRO put it, "they breed like rabbits."
    "The common carp is a nasty pest in our waterways and makes up 80 percent of fish biomass in the Murray Darling Basin," Australia's Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, said in a statement.
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    According to the government, they threaten other species by causing erosion and out-competing native fish for food and resources, so a number of native fish are either vulnerable or threatened with extinction.
    Joyce also estimates that the economic impact of carp is almost $400 million dollars a year.
    So maybe there's cause for his carping on.