About the Wild Carp Trust

A conservation charity

The Wild Carp Trust is a conservation charity that exists to conserve the oldest strains of carp. These strains of carp are defined, for the purposes of the Trust, as the original species wild carp (considered Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the feral descendants of carp introduced to waters in England and Wales before 1850 that have since avoided crossbreeding with modern strains of ‘king’ carp. These feral fish, known to anglers as wildies, can be medieval in origin within the UK but are potentially much older in Europe.

Inspired by the success of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the hands-on energy of the Wild Trout Trust, the Wild Carp Trust has four principal aims:

1. Conserve

Conserve our oldest strains of carp

  1. Find them, protect them, improve habitats, establish conservation pools and stock ponds, run breeding programmes, provide support to others wishing to restore, maintain or create pools for heritage carp.

Read more about our wild carp conservation plans.

2. Educate

Educate people about the history and importance of heritage strains of carp.

  1. What the oldest strains of carp are and what they look like, why they’re important as a heritage strain, how they’re threatened and why they’re worthy of conservation
  2. Conduct  research, write and publish articles, books and handbooks, provide advice to clubs and fishery owners.

How we intend to tell their story to secure their future.

3. Champion

Champion our oldest strains of carp, promoting their historic importance and sporting quality to anglers.

  1. Produce films, podcasts, books, magazine articles, website, and social media
  2. Defend our oldest strains against those who seek to replace these fish with larger-growing strains of carp.

How we will seek to raise awareness and understanding of these heritage strains of carp.

4. Celebrate

Celebrate our oldest strains of carp.

  1. Organise regional and national events, fishing get-togethers and socials
  2. Offer annual awards to those who have most helped to conserve or raise awareness of our oldest strains of carp.

The purpose within a name

The Wild Carp Trust takes its name from the original carp of the River Danube, fish that are thought to be nearly extinct in their native environment due to habitat loss and cross-breeding with modern strains of carp. Whilst the plight of the true wild carp is arguably lost, we were inspired by their story and are compelled to protect ancient strains of their cultivated descendants.

We debated whether our name should be The Heritage Carp Trust, but we were so moved by the story of Danube fish that we had to acknowledge them. Also, we were formed by anglers who commonly (and mistakenly) refer to our oldest strains of carp as ‘wild carp’. (For the record, these fish should be referred to as ‘wild-type carp’, ‘wild-like carp’, ‘feral carp’, ‘heritage carp’ or most commonly as ‘wildies’.)

One part of our name that was fixed from the start was ‘Trust’. There’s a sense of mission in this word – that we can be trusted to look after the oldest strains of carp when others caused the near-extinction of the original, true, wild carp. (People built hydroelectric dams that flooded the shallow spawning plains of the Danube; others cultivated new strains of carp that escaped back into the Danube and its neighbouring rivers, ultimately cross-breeding with the pure species.)

There’s also a strong sense of trust implied in being a member of our organisation. By joining, you are making a statement to help protect our oldest strains of heritage carp. In doing so, you might eventually be trusted to keep secrets concerning the locations of these incredibly rare fish.