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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Catch a carp and improve the health of our rivers

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Northern Rivers residents are being urged to catch a carp this weekend, and help save our rivers. (supplied)
Northern Rivers residents are being urged to catch a carp this weekend, and help save our rivers. (supplied)

The annual Casino Carp Muster – which aims to improve the health of local rivers systems and creeks – will be held this weekend.

Run by the Casino RSM Fishing Club, the annual muster takes place on Saturday and Sunday, and is all about removing carp from the Richmond River, the Wilsons River and Bungawalbin Creek.

Carp thrive in degraded river systems such as the Richmond, where a lack of native fringing vegetation is a major cause of poor water quality and erosion.

The pest species then compound poor habitat by stirring up mud, eating tree roots and creating more erosion.

They also prey on native fish and now make up an incredible 80 per cent of the biomass in our river system.

The annual Carp Muster offers up $4000 in prizes for keen fishers who want to have some fun and help rid the rivers of this destructive species.

Weigh-in is on Sunday from 8am to 2pm behind the Casino RSM Club. Registration is $20 adults, $15 pensioners and $10 for school students. Register at www.casinorsmfishingclub.webs.com.

For those not interested in fishing, people are invited to go along and try some carp.

Keith and Catey Bell, operators of K&C Fisheries, a global business transforming carp from a destructive species into a valuable resource, will be guests of honour at the muster.

The Bells will be serving up cooked carp, demonstrating how the pest can be prepared into a nutritious and tasty meal.

‘It’s all in the initial handling and humane treatment of the fish,’ Keith Bell said.

‘If the carp is placed straight into an ice slurry after it is caught, it releases minimal histamine or stress hormone, and will not be tainted with a muddy flavour. It’s nutritious and high in Omega 3 and 6, just like tuna and salmon.’

Not only do the Bells export carp fillets, they also sell the roe, a traditional ingredient in taramas (commonly known here as caviar dip) as well as the skins, which are made into leather products.

The Bells are coming to the Casino RSM Carp Muster courtesy of Lismore City Council, The Ballina Fishermen’s Cooperative and the Ballina Beach Hauler Crew.

Carp is currently caught as bi-catch by local estuary fishermen and is sold on to the Sydney Fish Market where there is steady demand.

Locally, few people are eating it, and only burying it or using it as fertiliser when caught inadvertently.

The Bells are hoping to change that.

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