Common Carp

Cyprinus carpio


Photo Credit: © supergan, CC BY-NC 4.0
Cyprinus carpio
  • Rivers, streams, lakes and ponds; tolerates wide range of freshwater conditions, prefers slow or stagnant water with muddy bottom and thick vegetation.

  • Many forms of carp have been bred and as a result they are highly variable in appearance.
  • Common carp have brown-green back and upper sides, silvery to golden-brown flanks and a white belly.
  • Due to their size and 'fight' carp are popular for angling,  they can weight up to 30kg and are usually 25 – 75 cm (can grow up to 100cm) in length.
  • They have a thick to round body and large protruding lips with 2 long and 2 short barbels originating from the upper jaw.
  • The dorsal fin is concave with a long base and strongly serrated spine at the front.
  • Download N.I.E.A. ID guide
Origin and Distribution:
  • It is native to Eastern Europe and Asia.
  • Due to their introduced for both aquaculture and angling in many countries, C. carpio can be considered the world's most widely distributed freshwater fish.
  • Wild stocks are only present naturally in rivers draining to the Black, Caspian and Aral Sea.

  • In waters where common carp does become established they alter the habitat by consuming plants and invertebrates and also by increasing turbidity.
  • Should this species arrive in Ireland, there is potential for the associated introduction of fish diseases and parasites. These impacts may lead to a reduction in the quality of Irish game (salmonid), and potentially coarse fisheries.
  • It will also impact the ecological status of Irish waterbodies under the Water Framework Directive.

How might it get here?
  • Deliberate introduction for angling or aquaculture.

Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • Present in carp fisheries in Northern Ireland.

Prevent Spread:
  • Fisheries must be managed in accordance with conditions of their permit, to prevent any escapes or releases to the surrounding environment.
  • Do not move species of fish from one waterbody to another.
  • Do not introduce invasive non-native fish species.
  • Report all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App. For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:  

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland