Tuesday, May 31, 2016
What all this indicates is that you make up a liter of bottled water with a teaspoon of soda and a teaspoon of salt and dissolve and refrigerate.
Then pour a half cup into a glass and top off with water or juice. Everything else is too fussy and not even linked to your weight. Do this once or twice a day to see now you adjust. The main thing here is to make it easy to use. Even mix in a shot of apple cider vinegar into your glass if it works.
All this will help counter all your bad eating choices. Even better, have dessert and follow with a glass of this stuff to cleanse your palate. One way or the other it all becomes part of your daily regime.
Eat 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda Daily and THIS Happens to Your Kidneys!
The kidneys are small, only about the size of a fist, but they perform vital functions that play a role in overall health. Each day, the kidneys filter about 120-150 quarts of blood, to produce 1-2 quarts of urine, filtering waste and extra fluid out of the body. The kidneys prevent the buildup of waste in the body, keep electrolyte levels stable, and make hormones that regulate blood pressure, make blood cells, and maintain strong bones.
Many factors can lead to kidney damage, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, a disease called glomerulonephritis, which damages the kidney’s filtering units, infections, kidney stones, and overuse of some over-the-counter pain killers. Repairing the kidneys after damage just may lie in a common household item: baking soda.
How Does it Work?
The endocrine system produces hormones and enzymes to help digest food into safer chemicals that the body can process. The pancreas is usually the organ that produces the majority of sodium bicarbonate to protect the kidneys during digestion. Sometimes, the kidneys will produce additional amounts, depending on the type of food you eat.
If your diet includes added sugar, fried foods, fatty foods and other unhealthy choices, the endocrine system can become stressed. Both the pancreas and the kidneys will suffer a significant reduction in their ability to produce sodium bicarbonate effectively. Without sufficient production of bicarbonate, the acids produced during digestion cannot be effectively neutralized, causing kidney damage.
In dialysis or other treatments for kidney damage, sodium bicarbonate is one of the most common agents used. A process known as acid buffering aids in the removal of excess fluids and waste material from the bloodstream. Dialysis helps to add sodium bicarbonate to the body, because the kidneys are no longer able to produce it in order to process food and waste materials. When the body is able to produce normal amounts of bicarbonate on its own, the life of the kidneys is extended, and the endocrine system can remain healthy.
The U.S. National Health Institute conducted studies that first showed the effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate dialysis in the place of normal dialysis. Patients placed on this treatment showed greater nitrate oxide synthase, which is a process that balances the pH level of the blood.
Additional studies conducted by Dr. Ione de Brito-Ashurst and his colleagues from the Department of Renal Medicine and Transplantation showed that daily sodium bicarbonate intake slows the progress of chronic kidney disease and prevents patients from having to undergo kidney dialysis. This allowed researchers to conclude that sodium bicarbonate can prevent, and in some cases, even reverse the onset of chronic kidney failure, and stop related diseases such as heart disease and end-stage renal disease.
How to Use Sodium Bicarbonate for Kidney Damage
Talk to a health care professional before starting any type of treatment. Sodium bicarbonate is not toxic, but it can be difficult for a sensitive stomach to digest. Proper administration for those in danger of developing kidney disease includes:
On the first day, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon baking soda under the tongue.
The next day, mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 1.5 liters of water, and drink each day for 2-3 days.
Then, reduce your daily dosage to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/3 teaspoon of salt.
Kidney damage can be caused by living an unhealthy lifestyle, so the best way to protect your kidneys is to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy diet! Check out the video below for a baking soda and apple cider vinegar drink you can make at home!
There is error in both sides of the arguments. Those errors have led to serious distortion, both economic and social. It is my contention that the solution lies in properly empowering the natural community of 150 individuals with access to fiat credit and to the rule of twelve. This creates a naturally limited economic floor that eliminates the possibility of poverty, while producing individuals transitioning to virtual communities at need to create larger pools of capital and wealth.
Both levels honor capital enterprise as it is naturally rewarding to a defined community. Think about that.
Civil community is a function of community and not an obligation of wealth production. Thus wealth production must empower communities to be better communities, not the other way around which is the flaw of our Indian reserve system and much of socialist thinking.
The Moral Case for Competitive Capitalism, Revisited
Capitalism Is Ethically Superior, Too
Lawrence W. Reed
When economist Don Billings first wrote this essay, published by FEE in the Freeman in July 1983, he was a professor in the department of economics at Boise State University in Idaho. At that time, defenders of capitalism (by which I mean free markets, not cronyism with government favors) often focused heavily on its productive superiority over socialism.
In places like Sweden, partial socialism seems to work because the remaining capitalism pays its bills.
Indeed, the fact that capitalism produces more and better “stuff” (which, incidentally, is what feeds, clothes and houses people while it lengthens and enriches their lives) is still a compelling argument. A quick glance at the Index of Economic Freedom or the Economic Freedom of the World reports reveals year after year that the more capitalist a country is, the higher the general standard of living; the more socialist it is, the more impoverished it is. The human traffic around the world is almost entirely in one direction — from socialist countries to the more capitalist ones.
The socialist countries that seem to work do so not because of the socialism they have but because of the capitalism they haven’t destroyed. Sweden, for example, is often regarded as a model of “democratic socialism” because of its penchant for the welfare state and redistribution, but it has universal school choice, lower business taxes than the United States, and an economy wide open to international trade and investment; it also doesn’t nationalize industries as many socialists desire.
In places like Sweden, partial socialism seems to work because the remaining capitalism pays its bills. Western European welfare states have long had their national defense heavily subsidized by more capitalist America. The difference between socialism of the partial, “democratic” variety and the more totalitarian kind exemplified by Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, or the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge is the difference between milking the cow and shooting it. Socialist Venezuela is proving right now in 2016 that you can easily milk the cow to death as well.
FEE’s founder, Leonard E. Read, put it well in an insightful 1963 article, “Socialism: A Barren System”:
Socialism depends upon and presupposes material achievements which socialism itself can never create. Socialism is operative only in wealth situations brought about by modes of production other than its own. Socialism takes and redistributes wealth, but it is utterly barren when it comes to producing wealth.
In the timeless essay below, Don Billings turns our attention away from the economic argument to one we should be emphasizing more these days: the moral one. Ultimately, that’s where we find the strongest, loftiest, and most convincing case for capitalism.
Billings explains why socialism of all varieties is precisely what Frederic Bastiat termed it nearly two centuries ago: legalized plunder, theft on a national scale. Its very essence is stealing. Socialists wrap their iron fists with rhetorical velvet gloves (“Equality for all!,” “Power to the people!,” “People, not profits!” and with offers of free “stuff” for some at the expense of others), but in the final analysis, they glorify the use of force.
In the death spiral of Venezuelan socialism at this very moment, crime is soaring. Stories abound of people, desperate for food, resorting to theft themselves and thereby eliminating the middleman of the bureaucratic state. They may well be thinking, “If it’s OK for the state to steal on my behalf, why should I have to pay the state to get it for me when I can grab it myself?” Those scenes from Caracas make a sad but compelling case that socialism, immoral from the start, produces even more immorality in its effects.
—Lawrence W. Reed
President, Foundation for Economic Education
“What is under attack is the capitalist system; and it is attacked mainly on ethical grounds as being materialistic, selfish, unjust, immoral, savagely competitive, callous, cruel, destructive. If the capitalistic system is really worth preserving, it is futile today to defend it merely on technical grounds (as being more productive, for example) unless we can show also that the socialist attacks on ethical grounds are false and baseless.” — Henry Hazlitt
As Karl Marx noted in the Communist Manifesto, capitalism is a great “engine of growth,” a proposition with which today few informed observers of the economic scene would disagree. Yet the free-market system continues to be viewed as materialistic, unjust, callous, cruel, and therefore immoral by great numbers of people all over the world — especially . This is especially true among many, if not most, intellectuals.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in a National Review article in 1978, acknowledged that “it is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development.” However, and unfortunately, he goes on: “many people living in the West are dissatisfied with their own society. They despise it or accuse it of not being up to the level of maturity attained by mankind” (italics added).
Following this line of thought, the world continues to witness attempts by supposedly beneficent dictators to remake mankind in terms of some utopian, and more often than not very vaguely specified, image. But societies designed from above to promote morality are rarely successful.
Indeed, totalitarian regimes frequently appeal to morality as a convenient device to assist in the subjugation of their peoples. Henry Hazlitt cites an incident, recorded in Marx’s correspondence with Engels, at the communist First International in which Marx admitted, “I was obliged to insert in the preamble two phrases about ‘duty and right,’ and ‘truth, morality, and justice.’ But these lamentable phrases are placed in such a way that they can do no harm.”
In fact, as Max Eastman records, “The notion of an earthly paradise in which men shall dwell together in millennial brotherhood is used to justify crimes and depravities surpassing anything the modern world has seen.”
Consider the Alternatives
The morality or justice of the system of competitive capitalism, therefore, cannot be fully appreciated until the alternatives observed in the real world are evaluated. For as the late libertarian economics professor Arthur Shenfield reminds us, “It is a plain historical fact that the treatment of man by man became conspicuously more humane side by side with the rise of capitalism.”
Attitudes and policies toward the punishment of crime, treatment of women, lunatics, the feeble-minded, the lame, and in attitudes toward slavery and serfdom, the treatment of workers, changed significantly for the better during the rise of industrial capitalism. There was even an “explosion of charitable endeavor in the countries which bore the most marked impress of capitalist principle and practice.” The economic system of private property, voluntary exchange, and free markets brought with it, according to Shenfield, an improvement on what had gone before and very definitely an improvement over the socialist dictatorships of the 20th century.
For centuries in precapitalist Christendom, men were urged to lay up their treasure not in this world but in heaven, to eschew greed and selfishness, to care for the poor, the sick, the widow and the orphan, to treat all Christians, if not others, as brothers. Yet the normal and universal treatment of man by man in every respect was so inhuman by our present standards that we would be unable to picture it to ourselves were it not that we know it to be matched in the postcapitalist socialist countries of our time. And these socialist countries are conspicuous not merely for their pervasive cruelty and oppression but also for their loud claims to be in the process of building a comradely society free from greed and selfishness!
Socialism, immoral from the start, produces even more immorality in its effects.
Following the lead of the economist Benjamin Rogge, it is in fact the case that “the most important part of the case for economic freedom is not its dramatic success in promoting economic growth, but rather its consistency with certain fundamental moral principles of life itself.” For personal freedom, and therefore economic and political freedom, is not “ethically indifferent” but a necessary condition of morality.
It is … an old discovery that morals and moral values will grow only in an environment of freedom, and that, in general, moral standards of people and classes are high only where they have long enjoyed freedom — and proportional to the amount of freedom they have possessed.… That freedom is the matrix required for the growth of moral values — indeed not merely one value among many but the source of all values — is almost self-evident. It is only where the individual has choice, and its inherent responsibility, that he has occasion to affirm existing values, to contribute to their further growth, and to earn moral merit.
Morality and the Market
It appears that the free market system, in which exchange is voluntary and mutually beneficial, is a necessary condition for a moral order in which the integrity of the individual conscience is respected. Hayek points out that only
where we ourselves are responsible for our own interests … has our decision moral value. Freedom to order our own conduct in the sphere where material circumstances force a choice upon us, and responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience, is the air in which alone moral sense grows and in which moral values are daily recreated in the free decision of the individual. Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion … and to bear the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name.
“Surely,” adds Hayek on another occasion, “it is unjust to blame a system as more materialistic because it leaves it to the individual to decide whether he prefers material gain to other kinds of excellence.”
Whatever the goals of individuals, whether virtuous or not, the “vulgar calculus of the marketplace” is still the most humane way mankind has found for dealing with the economic problems of scarcity and the difficult allocation of resources.
In Man, Economy, and State, Murray Rothbard forcefully reminds us that “in a world of voluntary social cooperation through mutually beneficial exchanges … it is obvious that great scope is provided for the development of social sympathy and human friendships.” Indeed, “it is far more likely that feelings of friendship and communion are the effects of a regime of contractual social cooperation rather than the cause.”
Capitalism tends to favor those who respect the sanctity of their contracts because of its respect for and enforcement of private property rights. The work ethic, encouraged by the institution of private property, represents an important source of moral responsibility as well as a continuous reminder that our actions always entail costs — a pervasive characteristic of human existence. These essential ingredients of a free market order, Shenfield tells us, define a set of social institutions that encourage mutual respect for each and every individual:
What we want above all for ourselves, and which therefore we must accord to our neighbor, is freedom to pursue our own purposes.… As a corollary to this freedom we want others to respect our individuality, independence, and status as responsible human beings.… This is the fundamental morality which capitalism requires and which it nurtures. It alone among economic systems operates on the basis of respect for free, independent responsible persons. All other systems in varying degrees treat men as less than this.
The processes by which we satisfy human wants through social cooperation do not, of course, exhaust the purposes to which individuals aspire. The search for personal happiness and inner peace must be found within the individual alone. Nevertheless, mankind’s social relationships are generally far more peaceful under a system of private property and free trade. (The heyday of capitalism, from Waterloo to the First World War, was a relatively peaceful century; the 20th was one of the bloodiest, thanks to socialist regimes like those of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.)
Furthermore, Shenfield, Hayek, and others remind us that competitive capitalism was the first social system in human history to direct man’s desire to become rich to the peaceful supply of greater quantities of goods and services for his fellow human beings, especially greater abundance for the working class and the poor.
And remember, Shenfield warns us, “The alternative to serving other men’s wants” through voluntary exchange “is seizing power over them.” Where socialism has prevailed it has invariably meant not only lower living standards for most people “but also their reductions to serfdom by the new privileged class of socialist rulers.”
The case for the morality and justice of the system of capitalism rests on the intimate and complementary connection that exists between private property and voluntary arrangements and the sovereignty of the individual over his own life. In fact, “one might say,” as James V. Schall does in Religion, Wealth, and Poverty, “that capitalism, far from dehumanizing man, allowed him at last to assume the full individuality which Christianity had always accorded him as the possessor of a distinctive moral conscience.”
Paul Johnson reminds us, however, that “we tend to take the concept of individuality for granted. Yet it is a comparatively modern idea — no older than capitalism; scarcely older than the Industrial Revolution.”
Free and Responsible
The “dawn of conscience,” that point in history in which individuals were first argued to be morally free and therefore responsible for their actions, appeared in Egypt and was borrowed and developed by the Jews. Jesus and his illustrious apostle Paul outlined a view that recognized the unique personality of each human being. It is essentially an individualistic view of mankind in which, for the first time, the individual’s soul is the most important thing about him. Christianity provided an environment in which individuals, to gain salvation, made choices from a position of free will.
Not only did the church find that individual souls were worth saving, but Christianity also “implanted the concept of the rule of law” and contributed importantly to the establishment of the idea of freehold property and the land deed in the Western world. Admittedly, these contributions were largely to protect the church and its institutions and property from the power of the state. But over time the principle of the rule of law and the private ownership of property were progressively expanded to the relationships between individuals.
“The connection between Christian morality and capitalism thus centers essentially around the role and importance of the individual,” according to Paul Johnson:
More than to any other force, then, we owe the acknowledgement of our individuality to capitalism.… And individualism is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian doctrine of conscience and free will. Free will implies choice: the moral function of society, the way in which it best serves the moral needs of the individuals who compose it, is when it facilitates the process of choice, permits consciences to inform themselves, and so offers the individual the greatest possible opportunity to fulfill his part.… That, essentially, is the moral basis of capitalism.
I conclude, therefore, that the system of free and open markets is most conducive to the perfection, or at least improvement, of man’s free will and tends to generate and make possible moral behavior. While it is admitted that “society” itself cannot be moral or immoral, that only individuals are moral agents, it would appear, following the arguments developed by Shenfield, that an economic system, “if its essential characteristics on balance positively nurture or reinforce moral or immoral individual behavior, it is a moral or immoral system in its effects” (italics added). Where justifiably acquired property rights are defended, and where contracts are enforced, and where the rule of law applies, then “the voluntary nature of capitalist transactions propels us into respect for others.”
For John Stuart Mill, justice is likewise a moral issue:
Whether the injustice consists in depriving a person of a possession, or in breaking faith with him, or in treating him worse than he deserves, or worse than other people who have no greater claims, in each case the supposition implies two things — a wrong done, and some assignable person who is wronged … Justice implies something which it is not only right to do, and wrong not to do, but which some individual person can claim from us as his moral right.
Justice, maintains Henry Hazlitt in The Foundations of Morality, “consists of the social arrangements and rules that are most conducive to social cooperation.” Therefore, a system of institutional arrangements called “capitalism” is unquestionably more consistent with justice in this sense than any alternative set of social arrangements even conceivably available to us.
The obviously immoral character of socialist dictatorships, where the most elementary human freedoms are suppressed and where millions of human beings have been murdered in the name of a new social order, documents the case for the private property, decentralized market system.
Societies designed from above to promote morality are rarely successful.
The great French economist and social critic Frederic Bastiat, writing in the 19th century, captured what would be the desirable characteristics of a truly just and moral order. He asked this question:
Which countries contain the most peaceful, the most moral, and the happiest people? Those people are found in the countries where the law least interferes with private affairs; where the government is least felt; where the individual has the greatest scope, and free opinion the greatest influence; where the administrative powers are fewest and simplest; where taxes are lightest and most nearly equal; … where individuals and groups most actively assume their responsibilities, and, consequently, where the morals of … human beings are constantly improving; where trade, assemblies, and associations are the least restricted; … where mankind most nearly follows its own natural inclinations; … in short, the happiest, more moral, and the most peaceful people are those who most nearly follow this principle: although mankind is not perfect, still, all hope rests upon the free and voluntary actions of persons within the limits of right; law or force is to be used for nothing except the administration of universal justice.
In light of these arguments by Hazlitt, Shenfield, Bastiat, and the others, a very interesting and important question remains to be asked. Why is it that a system of social organization that has produced historically unprecedented increases in living standards in those countries where the principles were practiced and which simultaneously did so much to reduce man’s inhumanity to man during its ascendancy has come to have such a low standing in the minds of so many millions of people?
Hayek was right when he insisted that “we must once again make the study of freedom an exciting intellectual issue.” And a moral one as well.
Fundamentally large corporations have access to credit that smaller corporations do not. When that fails, it should be time to dis-invest. However we find instead that they quickly lobby for cash and incentives that will sustain them. This breeds dinosaurs.
I am a firm supporter of providing credit as far down the food chain as is practical and micro finance shows us just how deep that really is.
Better yet, if government finance and support were blocked after a set ceiling of perhaps ten percent of any given industry or the largest competitor we would create an incentive preventing financial gigantism rather that a perverse system in which govern met incentives actually promote consolidation and job losses.
Why Give Breaks to Huge Corporations When We Could Invest Public Money Down the Street?
There's no doubt you've heard it: state politicians praising small businesses for their role in job creation. In 2012, Governor Rick Scott declared that "small businesses are the backbone of Florida's economy." Last year, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said "when small business innovators and entrepreneurs thrive, our economy thrives." The politicians are right: In fact, the Small Business Administration estimates that 99.7 percent of all firms are small businesses. Other research has shown that startups and firms already located in a state -- not companies relocating there -- create the vast majority of jobs.
So you'd think that politicians would go far to support small and entrepreneurial companies. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.
Every state has an agency or two in charge of promoting job growth. For instance, Virginia has the Economic Development Partnership, Nevada has the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and Florida has Enterprise Florida. Those agencies award and administer various businesses incentive programs, sometimes called "corporate welfare" -- corporate income tax credits, upfront grants, sales-tax exemptions, free or cheap land, discounted energy for data centers. Kenneth P. Thomas, author of Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital, estimates that state and local agencies spend about $70 billion a year in public money on economic development
Over the years, Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center that promotes transparency and accountability in economic development and where I work as a researcher, has observed that too often the $70 billion goes to large, out of state, publicly traded companies that don't need public assistance to thrive. After years of surging nine- and ten-figure "megadeals" (that's what we call incentive packages of $50 million or more), we decided to put our observation to the test.
We conducted three studies to find out if what we have suspected for years was true: that there is actually a profound bias against small business in the allocation of state economic development dollars, and that the amount of incentives to attract or retain large companies dwarfs resources dedicated to support small and locally grown companies.
In 2015, we interviewed 41 leaders of small business organizations in 25 states representing 24,000 member businesses. They told us they believed that spending on business incentives in their states favored large corporations and that the current incentive system was not fair to small companies. "We suffer from the paradigm that it's always better to bring in a business from outside to bring new jobs rather than investing locally to grow the economy," one leader told us.
On top of that, we found that there is a mismatch between what small businesses need and what is offered to them by state economic development agencies. "Small business owners don't call for more tax breaks or fewer workplace standards," another leader told us. "They … need more customers in their stores, purchasing the products and services that they sell." What small businesses really need, we found, is investment in their communities and customers who felt economically secure and had stable, well-paid jobs that gave them extra money to spend. By supermajorities, small business leaders said state tax incentives aren't useful to small or growing businesses.
That same year, we examined 16 economic development programs in 14 states. Those programs were officially open to companies of any size. In theory it didn't matter if a firm had two or 2,000 workers -- the playing field was supposed to be equal for everybody. But we found that 70 percent of the incentive awards and 90 percent of the dollars were going to big business.
In 2016, we examined overall economic development budgets in three diverse states -- Florida, Missouri, and New Mexico. We again found that large recipients dominated: 68 percent of state economic development spending goes to large companies and programs that support those companies. Only about 19 percent of economic spending benefits small companies. (The rest couldn't be clearly assigned.)
Those studies helped us conclude that to achieve a more just distribution of economic development resources, we need first to narrow eligibility to exclude large, multistate companies from accessing incentive programs. Those companies already have access to capital and markets and are less likely to need public support. At the very least, we need to put caps on the subsidies available to each company.
The idea is to limit and control the amount of public money companies receive for each job or deal. This would eliminate large awards associated with capital-intensive projects that create very few jobs, and would ensure that states do not overspend on each job. These reforms would save money that could be redirected to help small businesses overcome their persistent credit crunch. States would also have more resources to focus on bigger-picture priorities such as investing in Main Streets and communities, educating the workforce, and upgrading infrastructure.
Even though no states exclude large companies from their major subsidy programs and only very few programs have well-defined caps, some state governments have started to understand that economic development tax incentives can create revenue shortages for services that small businesses need and advocate for.
This year, for example, Louisiana has paid out more in tax credits to corporations than it has collected from corporate income and franchise taxes. Gov. John Bel Edwards, facing another year of budget deficit, wants to evaluate the effectiveness of major tax incentives in the state and advocates for trimming the amount of breaks available to companies.
Florida, too, has moved in the right direction. Gov. Rick Scott wanted to create a special "deal-closing" fund that would attract companies from other states. He asked for $250 million for that purpose, but the state legislature rejected his request and instead gave him nothing. This is unprecedented. Florida legislators were bold in advising the state's privatized economic development agency what to do next: "Be creative," they said.
Now Florida has a chance to focus on what truly matters in economic development.
The good news is that carp also provide good eating. The bad news is that we do not eat enough of them instead insisting on eating more threatened fish.
I suspect we have to begin sequestering the fish briefly in order to fatten them up on soy for a few days in order to perfect taste and then harvest them to provide ample fish protein for fillets and manufactured food products. It all has to be a solution for something.
Again this is something that governments need to become proactive in. Australia has a finite supply of fresh water for this. Canada has vastly more. The carp is likely to invade the Great Lakes and actually supply a superior product. Add in Sturgeon and salmon and we can have a massive Great Lakes fishery poorly served by the indigenous species.
How infecting carp with herpes can help save dying river systems
Nick Lavars May 2, 2016
Once the carp are infected with CyHV-3, the virus multiplies over the next seven days or so.
When carp were first introduced into Australia in the mid-19th century, acclimatizing settlers hoped the freshwater fish would bring a taste of home to their food and recreational activity down under.
Today, these pests are running riot across the country's waterways, seriously compromising the health of its rivers and native species. The Australian government is now moving to cut populations through the controlled release of carp-specific herpes virus, which it says is capable of killing individual fish off within 24 hours.
The Murray-Darling Basin stretches through Australia's eastern states, covering 14 percent of its total land area and is home to 57 different species of freshwater fish. But with the ability to endure a range of aquatic habitats, carp has bred wildly in the past 40 years. So much so, that it now makes up as much as 90 percent of fish biomass in certain rivers within the Murray-Darling Basin.
As it it poses an increasing threat to the well-being of native species in the region, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has been researching a biocontrol agent to try and reduce numbers.
"Because of the way carp feed, where they feed on either plant life or small invertebrates in the mud at the bottom of the river, they suck in an amount of material from the river bed and spit it out, sifting out the food that they want," Dr Ken McColl, CSIRO Head Researcher at the Australian Animal Health Laboratories Carp Control Team, explains to Gizmag.
"So this process means that the water becomes very, very muddy and unclear, and that then stops plant life from growing because they can't get enough light," continues McColl. "It also upsets some of the invertebrate life, it upsets the breeding of some of the native fish species and because all of these things happen, it actually has impacts further up the line. So you stop getting a lot of bird life coming to the waters like ducks that feed on the plants, for example."
It is with a healthy hint of irony that the panacea to Australia's carp problem may come via a virus that has caused monumental damage in other parts of the world. While carp is an unwanted pest in Australia, it is actually an important source of protein in much of Asia, Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East. So when the Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) appeared in Israel in 1998 and swept across carp farms killing off large portions of livestock, it spelled bad news for many. But in countries where carp pose a problem, there was perhaps a silver lining.
"It's what I sort of call the yin and the yang of this virus really," says McColl. "It has good and bad effects, good and bad sides. For Australia it is viewed as a potential white knight to help us clean up our river systems."
McColl and his team have been investigating CyHV-3 as a potential biocontrol agent since 2008. This has meant assessing the effect the virus might have on other species that live in the same water as the carp. He tells us they have conducted experiments on 13 different species that live in these waters and have found no evidence that the virus causes any disease, or that it even multiplies in those fish. His team has three remaining species to assess before the virus is released.
"We feel pretty confident that it is very safe," says McColl.
Once carp are infected with CyHV-3, the virus multiplies over the next seven days or so. Then over a period of about 24 hours, it damages the kidneys, skin and gills and hinders the fish's ability to breathe and prevent water entering its body, causing it to die thereafter.
With the economic impact of carp in Australia estimated at AU$500 million (US$380 million) per year, the Australian Government has just launched a AU$15 million (US$11.5) National Carp Control Plan to tackle the problem. This will cover the implementation of the carp herpes virus, which it estimates will kill 95 percent of carp in the river system according to the ABC, along other complementary measures as well.
"We are looking at a window of somewhere between two and four years where the virus will really knock the carp down, before they start recovering again," says McColl. "As they start recovering we are going to want to use a variety of local, regional methods for control, like carp cages, netting to stop carp getting access to breeding grounds and physically hauling carp out of shallow lakes and ponds with nets, all the sorts of things that have been used in the past."
This is the short-term outlook, but the long term view is a little more tricky. McColl expects that over time carp will develop some form of immunity to CyHV-3. But just as nature provided the answers in the past, he anticipates it will do the same in the future.
"We could work in the lab on producing a new virus but that's probably going to be looked at as a genetically modified virus and so it's probably not going to be acceptable," he says. "But we can look for new generations of the same virus from overseas where the virus occurs naturally in other countries, and we'll get the new generations from over there and bring them back to Australia, and they should be more potent for us here than the one we have at the moment."
Because CyHV-3 can only grow in temperatures ranging from about 16 to 28 degrees Celsius (61 to 82.4° F), McColl says using the virus to control carp in other locations where their populations are out of control, such as the US, could be complicated. But he says neighboring New Zealand, though its carp problem is not of the same magnitude, has been following his team's work closely and might one day follow Australia's lead.
"They'd be happy to see it being used here and know that they could pull it out of their back pocket if they need to in the future," he says.