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Invasive Tilapia Eradicated in Bullyard Area

by the Fish Site Editor
06 August 2009, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Action is being taken to remove the pest fish species tilapia from dams in the Bullyard area to stop it from spreading in the Kolan River catchment.

Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries regional manager Nikki Moore said the fish poison rotenone is being added to 16 privately owned dams on two properties near Bundaberg to eradicate the tilapia.

"Using rotenone in the Bullyard area will greatly reduce the risk of these exotic pest fish species from spreading throughout the Kolan River catchment and other Wide Bay Burnett rivers," Dr Moore said.

"Irrigation that leads from the Kolan River catchment has the potential to spread tilapia into the Burnett and Elliott catchments as they are all linked through irrigation systems.

"Rotenone is an environmentally approved control method, and does not affect vegetation. The fish poison will only kill species which breathe through their gills and will dissipate within 24 hours.

"The poison rapidly degrades when exposed to light and moisture and has short-term environmental impacts.

"Further monitoring of the tilapia incursion over the next three months will be used to determine the success of the eradication program.

"If tilapia is not detected, dams will be stocked with Australian bass to provide a predatory backup control method of treatment," Dr Moore said.

"Further surveys will be conducted 12 months later to ensure the tilapia is gone."

Dr Moore said tilapia is considered one of the world´s top 100 most invasive introduced species.

"Tilapia is an aggressive, fast-breeding fish and if left to populate a waterway, they will destroy the native fish population and the aquatic environment," she said.

"Generally tilapia become established in new waterways by people moving them there.

"Fishers who catch tilapia must kill the fish humanely and dispose of them away from the water."

Sue Sargent, Chair of the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) said the committee is helping to raise awareness and eradicate tilapia in the region.

"Pest fish are a major problem for us all as a community - they push out endemic wildlife and impact on the health of the natural environment," Ms Sargent said.

"When the pest is tilapia, which also has the ability to move from freshwater into our estuaries, then it´s a concern for all of us - particularly when you have internationally significant natural resources like the Great Barrier Reef and Great Sandy Strait just offshore."

the Fish Site Editor