Anglers of all ages are being encourage to record their catches of tilapia in Tweed Waterways as part of a public awareness campaign to monitor the spread of the pest fish. Photo: Conservation Volunteers Australia
Anglers of all ages are being encourage to record their catches of tilapia in Tweed Waterways as part of a public awareness campaign to monitor the spread of the pest fish. Photo: Conservation Volunteers Australia

What to do if you see one of the world’s worst pest fish

A CAMPAIGN is underway to target one the world's worst pest fish in Tweed waterways.

Residents and anglers are being called upon to limit the spread of tilapia and monitor populations, particularly in Cudgen Lake and Bogangar Canal.

The fish was first confirmed there in 2014 and is the only known Mozambique tilapia population in NSW.

Tilapia was introduced into Australia as an ornamental fish in the 1970s and can tolerate a wide range of habitats, including fresh and brackish water.

Due to their aggressive nature, especially when breeding, tilapia impacts on native species, reducing their numbers, damaging native habitats and affecting water quality.

Waterways project officer Matthew Bloor said once populations are established, it is virtually impossible to eradicate tilapia from natural waterways.

He said the campaign, supported by Tweed Shire Council and fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited, will help identify tilapia hot spots and build an understanding of impacts on native fish habitat.

 

Anglers of all ages are being encourage to record their catches of tilapia in Tweed Waterways as part of a public awareness campaign to monitor the spread of the pest fish. Photo: Conservation Volunteers Australia
Anglers of all ages are being encourage to record their catches of tilapia in Tweed Waterways as part of a public awareness campaign to monitor the spread of the pest fish. Photo: Conservation Volunteers Australia

 

 

Mr Bloor said the community can play a vital role in stopping the spread by reporting sightings and taking clear photos of fish and the locations where they are seen.

"Don't use tilapia as bait (dead or alive) as even dead adults may be carrying viable eggs or larvae in their mouth. It is illegal to return any recreationally caught tilapia to the water," he said.

If caught, the fish must be humanely dispatched or disposed of in a bin going to landfill.

The community can play a vital role in stopping the spread of tilapia by reporting sightings to the NSW DPI Fisheries hotline, 1800 675 888 or email and send good quality photos to aquatic.biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au