Tilapia sightings recorded at Gooseponds

There have been a growing number of tilapia sightings reported at the Gooseponds recently.

Tilapia are classified as restricted invasive matter (noxious fish) under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014.

They compete with native fish for food and habitat and are known for aggressive behaviour.

For anglers, this means popular fishing spots are often destroyed due to an invasion of tilapia and destruction of habitat.

Cr Karen May said council had participated in regular educational and fishing events at the Gooseponds to increase awareness around the issue.

“Tilapia are well-established in the Gooseponds catchment,” she said.

“When tilapia become established in a system, they are virtually impossible to eradicate.

“We have already carried out predatory trials by releasing barramundi to hunt the pest fish species as well as employing electrofishing to help control numbers.

“Unfortunately, this has been largely ineffective as tilapia breed at a much faster rate than can be controlled.”

Council has also undertaken projects to improve conditions at the Gooseponds for native fish, such as barramundi, including building a series of log fish hotels and installing oxygenation fountains in the most upstream pond of the Gooseponds to try and eliminate low oxygen-induced fish kills.

There is also signage at the Gooseponds, which displays key information regarding Tilapia and their impacts.

Principal Biosecurity Officer at Biosecurity Queensland, Michelle Smith said education was a key factor in combating tilapia.

“Tilapia must not be distributed, kept, or fed and must be killed immediately upon capture,” she said.

“If you catch a tilapia you must remove it at least three metres from the waterway and kill it humanely.

“Tilapia are mouthbrooders and could have hundreds of eggs/hatchlings in their mouth, so the fish must be buried, as soon as practicable, away from the water body.”

Ms Smith said noxious fish, such as tilapia, have been introduced by human activities.

“Our message to residents is not to empty unwanted fish tank contents into our waterways,” she said.

“If you have unwanted material, plant or fish, please return them to where you purchased them from or destroy them humanely and bury them.”

For more information on tilapia visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.