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Data from: “The CarP‐N neutral Project”: removal, processing and reuse of invasive fish in local terrestrial conservation projects

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David, Bruno O. et al. (2019). Data from: “The CarP‐N neutral Project”: removal, processing and reuse of invasive fish in local terrestrial conservation projects [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Proliferation of problematic non-indigenous fish species is major biosecurity problem in many countries. 2. In Southern Hemisphere lowland rivers, species such as introduced common carp (Cyprinus carpio) take advantage of nutrient rich conditions and a temperate climate and often dominate the fish biomass in invaded waterbodies. 3. These invasive organisms assimilate nutrients into their flesh and also release nutrients through re-suspension and defecation re-directing the pathway of energy transfer and use in aquatic systems. 4. We describe an invasive fish ‘recycling’ programme where a semi-automated trap selectively captures pest fish and transfers them to a thermophilic digester where bacteria efficiently process them into nutrient rich meal. 5. Developing products from invasive fish meal to support other conservation efforts while simultaneously providing a funding source to offset the costs of harvest and de-incentivise spread are key objectives. 6. We showcase two trials to substantiate our concept; a dune planting experiment where we demonstrate the transfer of processed invasive fish nutrient from an over-fertilised aquatic ecosystem to coastal sand dunes where nutrients are depleted but were formerly higher. We also illustrate the potential for using this locally derived recycled nutrient to replace imported synthetic fertiliser tablets typically used in dune planting. 7. The second trial demonstrates use of invasive fish as a lure in terrestrial trapping programmes for controlling other problematic invasive pests. Synthesis and applications: We consider this concept to be a shift in restoration thinking whereby an aquatic biosecurity problem is being used to improve indigenous biodiversity outcomes in other ecosystems. We propose that this project is a useful vehicle to promote thought that more accurately embodies the concept of sustainability by being more cognisant of the traceability of nutrient flow from harvest and processing through to use within and between ecosystems. It illustrates alternate ways in which invasive products can be applied to these systems for positive environmental outcomes and to generate programme cost recovery. A similar philosophy should be applicable to problematic and abundant invasive species elsewhere, particularly where those organisms are susceptible to either point source control and or efficient mass harvest.08-Mar-2018

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