Hundreds of algae-munching carp were released into the lakes and fountains of France's Versailles palace Tuesday in a bid to cut down on aquatic plants that were threatening its historic fountains.
The official in charge of the state-run property, Christophe Tardieu, said the fish were seen as a more eco-friendly option to combat the algae eating away at the centuries-old fountains.
"We had a choice between dumping pesticides in the Grand Canal (the main body of water in Versaille's grounds) or putting in carp. We preferred the second solution because it's more ecological and it fits with the conservation policy of Versaille's natural heritage," he said.
Nearly half the fish — grass carp originally from east Asia that are often used for water weed control — were put in the Grand Canal, with the others distributed among the property's many other ponds, canals and mini-lakes.
Tardieu said more carp would likely be released next year, after an evaluation of how well the initial exercise worked out.
Previously, Versaille's waterways were cleaned — laboriously — by gardners in boats scrubbing away at the underwater stonework.
When grass carp are introduced for weed control, they are often sterile in order to prevent them from overbreeding and then starving to death. In order to sterilize the fish, the eggs are exposed to heat or electricity. Before they are sold, the fish are tested to ensure they will not be able to breed.
This is especially important since grass carp, originally cultivated in China for food, could cause damage to the ecosystems in other countries like the United States, Australia or New Zealand.(Staff Writer with AFP)
1. aquatic adj.
水生的 (shui3 sheng1 de5)
例: My favorite aquatic creature is the seahorse.
2. pesticide n.
殺蟲劑 (sha1 chong2 ji4)
例: Farmers use pesticides in order to produce higher yields.
3. evaluation n.
評估 (ping2 gu1)
例: Teachers write an evaluation for each student.
4. laboriously adv.
費力地 (fei4 li4 di5)
例: I laboriously polished the wooden floor.