Herpes to bring about carp-aggedon down under


It’s Fish Versus Herpes In Australian Invasive Species Showdown

by Jed Oelbaum, in The Daily Good



Rough fish get no respect, as evidenced by the most recent control method proposed in Australia for invasive common carp. Herpes are being called upon to afflict the big minnow and reduce its numbers.

The story cites that common carp “comprise up to 90 percent of the fish biomass in parts of the Basin.” Ok, that is bad. But do we really want to release herpes to fight them? This idea is coming from the same people that brought you the cane toad.

We think it is too risky (understand that we know nothing about the science behind this proposal). Instead we think Australians need to embrace the carp instead of making an enemy of it. Just eat them. They are, after all, a favorite food fish in Europe and Asia.

Our favorite parts of this story

  • “herpes versus carp. “
  • The herpes plan is “incredibly important because we are afflicted in this nation with these disgusting mud-sucking creatures, ” said Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce
  • Being referred to as “carp-aggedon”, with up to 2 million tons of carp killed.
  • I think a river full of dead carp is not going to be fantastic for business,” Robert Hughes, houseboat operator
  • This video: [vsw id="" source="youtube" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"]


from Australia commits $15m in bid to eradicate carp using herpes virus, Melissa Davey, The Guardian

‘The virus affects the carp’s skin and kidneys, takes about seven days to have a noticeable effect and, once it takes hold, usually kills the fish within 24 hours.”





Throw Your Mullet in the Air, Like You Just Don’t Care

picture courtesy of Flora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar

picture courtesy of Flora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar

Yep, mullet throwing is a thing. According to the Flora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar website, a portion of the $15 fish flinging fee goes to local school education and prevention programs “to address drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco, mental health issues and violence.”  It is an interstate event, where people stand in a circle in Florida and fling a dead Mugil cephalus, i.e. flathead grey mullet, as far as they can into Alabama.

As Fish Nerds, we suggest that other states get into the action.

  • Manhattanites in New York could catapult crappie into New Jersey because they always crap on New Jersey.
  • Residents of Kansas could chuck bigmouth buffalo at cornhuskers in Nebraska (in honor of the beloved bison).
  •  Volunteers from Tennessee could throw rainbow darters at Mississippians just to tick off the gay-haters.

Our favorite parts of this story

  • Each year, the event raises over $20,000.
  • The lucky winners get a trophy and a gift certificate and “any other crap we find laying around”
  • More than 35,000 people from all over the country are believed to have participated in the three-day fish fling.
  • Fish are reused—until they can’t be




35,000 People Gathered to Throw Dead Fish on a Beach This Weekend






Commercial fishing bigmouth buffalo and common carp

ScreenClipMinnesota has a big freshwater commercial fishery for bigmouth buffalo and common carp – who knew.  Minnesota’s West Central Tribune reported the story and followed a crew from “Mike’s Rough Fish”. The word is the harvest is dropping. Yearly Minnesota use to harvest 6-7 million pounds of buffalo and carp. Now they are around 2 million. The season is only in March to May, when the walleye season is closed.

Our favorite parts of this story

  • Kandiyohi is from the Native American Dakota language and it means “where the buffalo fish come.’’
  • One crew catches about 20,000 lbs of buffalo in a morning
  • They truck them live to Chinatown in New York (Dave has seen live bigmouth buffalo in Boston’s Chinatown.  Were they from Minnestota?)
  • Carp are sent to New Jersey to be turned into gefilte fish. (We just read a story about gefilte fish in the New York Times)
  • Carp eggs and milt are sold as “poor man’s caviar” (how poor do you have to be to eat milt?)
  • Carp pituitary glands are sold to fish farms (used to stimulate spawning)
  • Nets can cost $20,000 each (related Bill Nye Made a $20,000 Bet to Shut Up Climate Change Deniers)




Where buffalo fish swim, nets follow






Fish are abducted and probed!

Tagged SA king recaptured at Coffs

Over 370 days later, Gerard Billing recaptured the fish at South Solitary Island, off Coffs Harbour in northern NSW – around 1450 nautical miles from its original …
From the Fish’s Perspective A king fish in Australia claims he has been abducted twice over the past year.  “The first time I was swimming near Port Augusta when I was pulled toward the surface by this hideous hairy thing. It took some measurements and then probed me with this tag.  Well, after I escaped I high tailed it out of there and swam about 1500 miles away. But that was not far enough. They found me again.”

Big Fish Love Shrews

Fish Nerds 550Research from University of Washington researchers report that shrews can be a big part of some fish diets.  The study was done in Alaska where lead Pete Lisi and his colleagues concluded a 13 year study on salmonid diets.  The news story reports that rainbow trout and Arctic grayling over 20 inches long liked shrews – some quite a lot. One of the fish had 19 shrews in its stomach.

In one part of the article fishing stories are recounted of trout leaping out on to land to eat frogs and rodents. These tales are not confirmed, but certainly these big fish have figured out a way capitalize on high protein shrews.

Shrew populations are cyclic, with some years producing bunches of shrews. Researchers noted that during years of high shrew populations, the small furry critters are more likely to take risks near water to find food and unoccupied habitat.  This means more shrews end up in the bellies of hungry trout.
(Fun Fact: scientists count shrew tails in stomachs because that is one of the last parts of the animal to be digested.)

Anglers headed up to the Alaskan Frontier may want to pack a few dozen gerbils or a case of hamsters.  The big fish may be worth it.


Or they may want these:



More images from

Fish Nerds 549
Fish Nerds 551 Fish Nerds 552



This Little Piggy Went Wee Wee Wee all the Way Down!

apig apig2 apig3

 Photo credit: youtube screenshots

Dr. Anderson, a forensic entomologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada, led an unusual study using pig carcasses to find out what happens to human bodies when they decompose in the ocean. Dr. Anderson has a great job!

We want to know if the crabs that eat this pig taste like bacon….mmmm bacon crabs!