Leading carp virus researcher honoured

CSIRO scientist, Dr Ken McColl has today been recognised for the value and impact of his carp biocontrol research by being announced the 2016 recipient of the Professor Dave Choquenot Science Award for Excellence in Pest Animal Research.

Andreas Glanznig, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC) CEO, said that this award was extremely deserved by Dr McColl who was instrumental in discovering that Cyprinid herpesvirus-3 could be effective as a management option for European carp, and his research outcomes were fundamental in the formation of the Australian Government funded National Carp Control Plan.

“Based on Dr McColl’s rigorous scientific observations over the past eight years, we are confident that the carp herpesvirus only kills carp and does not infect, and therefore cannot affect, a wide range of non-target animals in Australia.

“Dr McColl’s findings have resulted in the publication of eight peer-reviewed scientific articles and one book chapter, making Dr McColl one of the global leaders and experts on this research topic,” Mr Glanznig said.

In addition to publishing a number of highly ranked scientific articles, Dr McColl has presented at scores of local and international meetings and scientific conferences and undertaken what is likely to be hundreds of media interviews talking about the subject matter.

“As a zoologist, I’m honoured to have the opportunity to make an environmental difference to Australia’s river systems, and as a veterinarian I’m pleased that there is no evidence that the virus will affect other animals. We’re now working on how to deliver the virus to get maximum impact.”

Matt Barwick, the newly appointed National Carp Control Plan coordinator said that there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea that we could one day see our rivers run clear again.

“Without the scientific expertise of Dr McColl and his research team, the commitment from the Australian Government of $15 million to develop the National Carp Control Plan over the next two and a half years, would have never happened and he is very deserving of this honour.

“The Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC), responsible for delivering the National Carp Control Plan, is now going to move this research forward and understand further how the carp herpesvirus will work in our waterways.

“I also wish to thank Dr McColl and his research team based at the CSIRO, the Invasive Animals CRC and their partners for their efforts in leading the carp herpesvirus research project over the past eight years, with the further assessments and government considerations now being taken over by the FRDC,” Mr Barwick said. 

The final report which summarises the eight years of carp biocontrol research, led by Dr McColl through the IA CRC, has been published online and can be viewed here.

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Dr Agus Sunarto (left), Dr Ken McColl (middle), Dr Matt Neave (right) are the brains behind the carp biocontrol research program based at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO funded through the Invasive Animals CRC (image supplied by CSIRO)