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Author Topic: Pest fish on the move after flooding  (Read 3282 times)

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Qld Fisheries, Editor

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Pest fish on the move after flooding
« on: March 04, 2011, 10:00:22 PM »
Pest fish on the move after flooding

Pest fish on the move after flooding
News release | 02 March, 2011

Pest fish such as tilapia and carp are likely to have moved into other waterways due to the recent flooding in Queensland.

Fisheries Queensland pest fish officer, Danielle Stewart said floodwaters typically provided opportunities for pest fish and other aquatic pests to expand their distribution.

"After the recent rain, the community needs to be on the lookout for species such as tilapia and carp that may have made their way into local waterways where they have not been found previously," Ms Stewart said.

"These pest fish species are the most invasive in Queensland and the most likely to have spread into other areas.

"Once pest fish such as tilapia and carp enter a flowing waterway they are almost impossible to eradicate. It is important to understand what these fish look like so they are not accidentally spread further.

"Tilapia are generally a deep-bodied fish with a thin profile. The best way to identify them is through their long pelvic (belly) fins - this feature is different from native fish as they typically have short pelvic fins.

"Another important feature is that the tilapia's dorsal (upper) fin starts directly above the gills and extends beyond the tail.

"Carp are often confused with goldfish but the easiest way to distinguish them is through the barbels (whiskers) on their upper lip.

"Carp also have large scales, a deeply forked tail and a single dorsal fin. They are usually a bronze or olive-gold colour, with a pale yellow or white colour on their sides and belly."

Ms Stewart said Fisheries Queensland relied on the community's help to identify and report pest fish species in new waterways so control measures could be activated before breeding populations establish.

"When reporting a sighting you should provide information such as date and location of sighting, description of fish, a photo (if possible) and a brief description of the waterway," she said.

"If you catch tilapia or carp you should not return the fish to the water and dispose of it immediately. Penalties of up to $200,000 apply for people found with pest fish in their possession.

"Tilapia are listed in the top 100 of the world's worst introduced pest species.

"Tilapia are prolific breeders and are able to survive in a variety of conditions. They affect native species by competing for habitat and food, behaving aggressively and disturbing aquatic vegetation.

"Carp can survive in a range of environmental conditions that native fish find difficult to cope with.

"Their feeding habits often result in muddied water and uprooted aquatic vegetation. This affects native species as muddy water means less light can penetrate the water. This results in reduced plant growth and lower oxygen levels, making it more difficult for native species to survive."



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