Be on the look­out for spot­ted tilapia af­ter wet

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS -

TABLE­LANDS an­glers are be­ing asked to look out for spot­ted tilapia which may have been washed into new ar­eas by re­cent flood­ing.

In late 2017, spot­ted tilapia (Tilapia mariae) were found in two lo­ca­tions in a re­mote stretch of the Walsh River about 30 km from Chilla­goe.

Biose­cu­rity Queens­land In­va­sive Plants and An­i­mals gen­eral man­ager Graeme Dud­geon said they were also found near the Bruce Weir close to Dim­bu­lah.

“Fur­ther field sur­veil­lance to date has fo­cused on the Mitchell and Walsh Rivers, Emu Creek, Ma­reeba Wet­lands and the Ma­reeba-Dim­bu­lah Ir­ri­ga­tion Scheme,” he said.

“While no fur­ther spot­ted tilapia were found as re­sult of our sur­veil­lance ac­tiv­i­ties, we need more in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine the cur­rent spread of spot­ted tilapia in the area.

“With the on­set of the wet sea­son ham­per­ing our sur­veil­lance ef­forts, we’re ask­ing res­i­dents and re­cre­ational fish­ers to keep an eye out for spot­ted tilapia and re­port any sight­ings.”

Mr Dud­geon said re­ports of spot­ted tilapia would help de­ter­mine fu­ture ef­forts in the area.

“Once estab­lished in a flow­ing river or creek, tilapia are al­most im­pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate, so we’re keen to build a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent dis­tri­bu­tion of spot­ted tilapia in the area as quickly as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“The first de­tec­tion of spot­ted tilapia in the Walsh River in late 2017 was the re­sult of a pub­lic re­port.

“The gen­eral pub­lic are our ad­di­tional eyes and ears out in the field, so it’s im­por­tant that res­i­dents and fish­ers nearby know how to iden­tify spot­ted tilapia and re­port sight­ings.”

Spot­ted tilapia grow up to around 30 cm long, range in colour from dark olive-green to light yel­low, have five or six bars or blotches on their sides and adults can have red mar­gins on their fins and red blush­ing on their bod­ies.

If fish­ers catch a spot­ted tilapia in the area, they should pho­to­graph it, record their lo­ca­tion and re­port it on­line at biose­cu­rity.qld.gov.au.

Tilapia should never be used as bait (dead or alive). If caught tilapia should be hu­manely killed and buried or placed in a bin as re­turn­ing them to the water can spread tilapia. For more in­for­ma­tion, or to re­port spot­ted tilapia visit biose­cu­rity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23. Fol­low Biose­cu­rity Queens­land on Face­book and Twit­ter (@Biose­cu­ri­tyQld)

A spot­ted tilapia.

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