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Carp almost gone!

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Could this be the last female carp from Lake Sorell?

At the start of spring it was estimated that there were less than five carp in the Lake Sorell. Intensive fishing started in late October, as the water warmed and carp are known to become more active. The Carp Management Program staff set an average of over 7km of gill net every day in Lake Sorell, targetting likely carp habitat. After 362 days with no carp captured it was looking like there may have been none left! But the persistence paid off and three carp were caught in Lake Sorell during the period of hot weather in January. This brought the total number of carp removed from Lake Sorell to 41 499.

The hot, sunny, settled weather in January saw the water temperature hovering around 19 degrees, perfect for carp movement. The first carp for the 2020/21 season was caught on the 11/1/21, the second on the 12/1/21, and the third on the 14/1/21. The carp were a small female, and two small males which were both affected with advanced stages of the jelly gonad condition, making them sterile.

Although the female had 230gm of eggs, they were completely intact and she had not spawned. All three carp were very small for their age (839 to 1400gm), given they are likely to be over 11 years old. Given there hasn't been a successful spawning for many years we think it is increasingly likely that the carp population is unable to breed. The last sexually mature male was caught on 16 December 2018.

The intensive fishing continued through to early February but no further carp were captured. Given the low catch rates and the water temperatures now dropping, Lake Sorell was re-opened to the public on 6 Feb 2021. There has been no sign of spawning again this season and juvenile surveys will be undertaken in coming weeks to confirm this.

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