Koi carp

Cyprinus spp. (Cyprinus carpio & Cyprinus rubrofuscus)

Also known as: Common carp, Amur carp, European carp
Pest group: Animals | Freshwater
Pest type: Fish

Koi carp look similar to goldfish but grow significantly larger at around 75cm. They cause habitat loss for plants, native fish, invertebrates, and waterfowl.


  • Have two pairs of whisker-like feelers (barbels) at the corners of their mouths.
  • Colour is highly variable.
  • Spread primarily by human activity.
  • Habitats include still or slow-moving water, freshwater in lakes, ponds, streams, drainage channels, and river backwaters.

What you need to know

Cause habitat loss for plants, native fish, invertebrates and waterfowl by feeding like a vacuum cleaner sucking everything up and blowing out what they don’t want, dislodging native aquatic plants. Opportunistic omnivores, they eat a wide range of food, including insects, fish eggs, juvenile fish of other species and a diverse range of plants and other organic matter.

Management approach

This is a declared pest managed under the Canterbury Regional Management Plan 2018 – 2038 (PDF file, 10.6MB) within the exclusion programme.


Pests in the exclusion programme are not known to be established in Waitaha/Canterbury. If these pests were to become widely established, their impacts could be severe.

Therefore, early intervention by preventing their establishment is a cost-effective management approach.

The community should make us aware of any koi carp in Waitaha/Canterbury.


Any species declared a pest cannot be sold or be in a place where plants are being sold. Pest plants cannot be propagated, bred, multiplied, communicated, released, caused to be released, or otherwise spread.


Do not attempt to undertake control of koi carp yourself. Report sightings to us immediately on 0800 324 636.