Australia Is Using Herpes To Fight Off A Fish Invasion

Japanese Koi carp (Cyprinus carpio) with open mouth
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Japanese Koi carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Australia has, by far, the worst problems with invasive species in the world. Cats, rats, rabbits, and a host of other animals have been deliberately introduced over the years with catastrophic results to local wildlife. But even by those standards, the European carp is just the worst, so Australia is turning to drastic measures to get rid of it, namely, deliberately giving them herpes.

The carp are no joke. They drive down water quality, kill native species, and generally crap up any ecosystem they infiltrate. Worse, they’re highly adaptable and incredibly hard to kill, kind of the John McClanes of aquatic life. Hence, why Australian science minister Chris Pyne is resorting to the herp to clear them out.

The plan is controversial for a few reasons, not the least of which is that introducing a genetically engineered strain of herpes to bump off fish sounds like an idea that could go horribly wrong fairly easily. Just ask Florida as it fights its herpitic monkey invasion. If it does work, and the virus doesn’t mutate to attack other aquatic life, that will mean Australia’s main river system will be packed with thousands of pounds of rotting fish. But the fish need to be taken care of, so in 2018, don’t be surprised if Australia celebrates herpes for once. Hey, if it works on Ebola, why not fish?

(Via The Telegraph)

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