EAT CARP: Richmond Landcare Group member Trevor Acfield sees many benefits to adding carp onto the list of things for our dining table.
EAT CARP: Richmond Landcare Group member Trevor Acfield sees many benefits to adding carp onto the list of things for our dining table. Marc Stapelberg

Campaign to put Carp back on the menu

PEOPLE should start eating carp as way to reduce the infiltration of the pest species in the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers concerned locals said.

"We want to teach people it is very edible, and it is healthy as it is very high in omega 3 and 6 oils," Landcare volunteer Vanessa Tallon said.

As part of the their campaign there was a Landcare and Carp information stall at the Wilsons River Rumble fishing tournament held at Riverside Park in Lismore over the weekend.

The stall holders included members of the Wilsons River Landcare, South Lismore & Duck Pond Landcare, Lismore Greens and OzFish Unlimited Richmond River Chapter.

The volunteers had fresh European carp, a major local pest, for tasting on the Saturday and Sunday of the four-day event.

Getting more people to eat carp was a great way to reduce the numbers of the pest, Ms Tallon said.

The carp was prepared as fish cakes and strait up with salt and pepper.

"People really enjoyed it," she said.

The carp was caught near Coraki at a well-known spot to anglers, but the pest is thought to make up as much as 80% of the biomass in the local river systems, she said.

The trick for getting good eating carp was not to stress the fish after it was caught with a violent death. Otherwise the fish releases hormones that can make it taste "muddy", she said.

"Once it is caught put the carp in an ice slurry," she said.

Rivers need more habitat restoration on riverbank land so that fishing events like the River Rumble can continue in the future, Tallon said.

"This year we're hoping Lismore fishers get involved in a big way and register to participate," she said.

Habitat makes fish happen. The Richmond River scored a D- in the 2014 Ecohealth Report, while the Wilsons and Leycester Creek scored an F or Fail.

"Our area was virtually flattened during settlement, and the wetlands which acted like the kidneys of the catchment were drained or filled. Lismore is over 80% farmland, and we have a lot of soil erosion, acid sulphate soils and a huge variety of weeds infesting riverbanks."

"Weeds just don't do the job that sub-tropical rainforest did in protecting riverbanks from erosive flood events and Landcare groups struggle to keep individual project sites clean from invasive vines, Coral trees, Privet and Camphor."

Just as an army of settlers cleared the river banks, we now need an army of Landcarers and farmers to restore the banks. We also need urban residents to think about replacing weeds in their gardens with native species.



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