LEADING carp angler and tackle manufacturer Kevin Nash is asking anglers to support vital research that could end the catastrophic impact of the deadly carp disease Koi Herpes Virus in Europe and developing countries. The virus is rife among European sport fishing complexes and also aquaculture industries in developing countries.
Spearheading a fundraising campaign, Kevin is supporting research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) to identify carp that have genes resistant to Koi Herpes Virus (KHV), bringing longer term hopes of being able to breed KHV resistant carp both for sport and the table.
“As a fishery owner KHV scares me and the problem is not going to go away. There have been cases close to our new Royston Lakes this summer, and KHV can have an impact on us all; carp fishermen, fishery owners, retailers and many others besides,” said Kevin.
“We were approached by Dr. Jackie Lighten (UEA) for help, and so far he has received lacklustre support from the industry, which is a dreadful reflection. I have decided Nash will help champion this project, such is its importance. The Australian Government are implementing a carp eradication programme whereby they plan to introduce KHV into their river systems. Should this happen on the European mainland, where some countries deem carp invasive, I can only imagine the potential impact on carp stocks throughout Europe.”
Jackie conceived the project which aims to work in collaboration with lead KHV and genomic researchers at the UEA and the Earlham Institute, alongside American and Asian researchers. The aim is to use information from the DNA of carp and the different strains of KHV to understand how this disease has been transmitted around the world, and to identify carp that are resistant to different strains. There is also an ambition to develop new hand-held technology to be used on the bank, which should allow anyone to provide a rapid presumptive diagnosis of the presence of particular viral strains, including newly emerging diseases which if left unchecked could reach the level of threat currently posed by KHV.
Understanding the related genetics and exploring a programme to breed for resistance to KHV could have implications for farming of carp across the globe, an industry worth millions.
“The first step to reducing the prevalence of KHV worldwide is to understand the complex genetic relationship between carp and the virus,” says Lighten. “It’s surprising how little we know about the genetics of carp disease given that they are the most farmed fish in the world. If we include genetics as a source of information into selective breeding programmes we could significantly improve the health and future of carp, both for sport fishing and consumption. I believe that it is very important to have European carp anglers and companies involved in this research alongside academics and the farmers who grow carp for food. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the conservation of a species that gives people so much in one way or another”.
“The cost of this initial DNA molecular work to identify genes in our UK stocks that result in KHV resistance is approximately £20,000. Dr. Lighten is applying for considerable funding but grants take time,” continued Kevin. “He needs initial start up funds to generate preliminary genetic data from the valuable archived carp tissue held by Cefas – the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, enabling further grant applications in future for the large amounts of money required to achieve selective breeding of KHV resistant carp.”
Carp are a very important source of protein in many countries across the world, and KHV has caused huge financial losses at fish farms where carp are grown for consumption as well as fatalities in the sport sector. European and Asian carp farmers, or any people with an interest in carp have a common goal to eradicate KHV.
“We would ideally move quickly on this and finalise the fundraising before Christmas,” emphasised Kevin. “The ultimate goal is that we contribute to some ground breaking science which can secure the future of carp as a species here in Europe, and help them remain an important socio-economic farmed species as well as a leading sport species across the globe.”
The following auction lots will be opened for bidding on Official Nash Tackle’s Facebook page to help raise money towards the funding target of £20,000
● The chance for two people to appear in Urban Banx 10
● Individual one to one 24 hour sessions with: Alan Blair - Gary Bayes - Julian Cundiff - Carl and Alex – Oli Davies
● 24 hours with Alfie Russell on Hampstead Heath
● 48 hours tutorial for one with Simon Crow at RH Fisheries Weston Park including use of the luxury boathouse for two
● Weekend session (3 days) on Royston Lakes with Team Nash (including Alan, Oli, Carl and Alex) – 25 places available at £200 per place
● A guided session on Copse/Church Lake for two pairs of anglers with Alan Blair and Oli Davies
● 48 hours for two anglers on Nashlakes Royston with Steve Briggs
● Guided day sessions with top all rounders Paul Garner and Des Taylor
● 3 hour angling photography tutorial with Oli Davies, for six people
● The chance for two people to appear in a Carl and Alex video for two people
● New Year’s Eve Session on Copse/Church for two pairs of anglers
Keep up on Facebook Official Nash Tackle as new lots are added!