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From the old country

From the old country

John Littlewood

John Littlewood with carp, Goulburn River near Toolamba
John Littlewood with carp, Goulburn River near Toolamba. Photo: Nick Drayson.

'Carp have been in the UK since medieval times - they were a staple diet for the monks, who used to grow them in the stew ponds for food. Obviously over the years they've escaped into the river systems as they seem to have done over here in Australia for various reasons.

'I think people are going to have to get used to them. They're here to stay, no matter what these guys do - and other projects - you'll never be able to eradicate them. The climate here is absolutely spot on for them to breed and multiply and travel.

'Most of the animals I've come across seem to be introduced to this country. On my first day here a few weeks ago all I caught was Brown Trout - from England. I have come across a few blackfish but you've got roach, redfin (which we call perch), tench, as well as your rabbits and things that are causing you problems.'

Audio and transcript

audio_w15 Listen to more about carp from John (MP3 208kb)
Duration: 52 seconds

I'm lucky enough to work for the Environment Agency back in England, Fisheries department, and I'm on an exchange program with the Arthur Rylah Institute for swapping ideas, both techniques and how they operate. Last year we had some of their colleagues over and this year I'm lucky enough to be over here.

Carp have been in the UK since the medieval times - they were a staple diet for the monks, they used to grow them in the stew ponds for food. And obviously over the years they've escaped into the river systems, as they seem to have done over here in Australia, for various reasons. But I find it a culture shock being here, coming from England where carp are revered and they are the be-all-and-end-all, and here they're an absolute pest and a nuisance. And to see 20 fat pound carp swimming about in the river classed as vermin, it would make most anglers back in England cry - and me as well!