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A recent survey of the fish populations in the lower Proserpine River, Myrtle Creek and Brandy Creek have confirmed there is no evidence of the pest fish Tilapia in the waterways.
Whitsunday Regional Council recently engaged Catchment Solutions to monitor the river and nearby creek systems for the pest Tilapia, also known as the ‘cane toads of our waterways’.
In the world’s top 100 worst invasive species, Tilapia are very adaptable non-native fish and prolific breeders, which means they often have a huge impact on native fish populations and their nesting habits can greatly affect water quality.
Deputy Mayor and Division 3 Councillor John Collins said it was positive news for the health of the region’s southern waterways.
“If left unchecked Tilapia can have a significant impact on our creeks and rivers, which are currently in good condition,” he said.
“The fish survey reported the highest ever catch rates of Mangrove Jack and Barramundi in the Mackay-Whitsundays region using the Catchment Solutions trapping methods.”
“It’s good news for recreational fishers, and also demonstrates the recent improvements over the last ten years in our land management and farming practices.”
The survey recorded a noticeable increase in catch rates for the 2018 pre-wet-season in Myrtle Creek, with 18.3 fish caught per minute compared to 5.36 fish per minute ten years ago.
Recreational fishers are asked to be aware of the threat of Tilapia and continue to report sightings to Council or Biosecurity Queensland.
To combat the presence of Tilapia in Bowen’s Mullers Lagoon, Council will be hosting a Tilapia Catching Day on Saturday 18 May, from 10am – 12.30pm at the Lagoon.
The Tilapia Catching Day is a free event for families and will include a fishing competition with prizes, jumping castle, free sausage sizzle and more. More information will be provided closer to the event.
Tilapia vary in colour from dark olive to silver-grey, and are a deep-bodied fish with thick profiles, long snouts and pronounced lips/jaws.
To avoid the spread of Tilapia into Whitsunday waterways, fishers are asked to avoid using them as bait, releasing them back into the water, or stocking any local dams or ponds with the pest fish.
For more information on how Council manages pests in the Whitsunday region, visit our website at https://www.whitsunday.qld.gov.au/353/Pest-and-weed-management
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