INVASIVE FISH: Bundaberg Sports Fishing Club member Nelson Phillips with some of the tilapia caught in the Burnett River at Mingo.
INVASIVE FISH: Bundaberg Sports Fishing Club member Nelson Phillips with some of the tilapia caught in the Burnett River at Mingo. Contributed

Anglers put big dent in invasive fish numbers

IT'S war on an invasive fish.

One angler alone caught 80-plus tilapia at the recent Catch A Catty Family Fishing Competition at Mingo Crossing.

Riley Pym won the incentive prize for the most caught, including 47 in one day.

Paradise Stocking Association president Lofty Wendt said the invasive tilapia has been in the Burnett River since the Boondooma Dam flooded in 2011.

"In some countries it is bred and raised as the prime source of fish,” he said.

"But the sheer numbers and competitive nature with other fish in the waterways has caused major problems.”

Tilapia have been listed in the top 100 of the world's worst introduced species.

The fish is regarded as one of the greatest threats to Australia's native biodiversity because it has several adaptations that combine to enable it to overwhelm native fish populations.

Tilapia females carry their eggs and larvae inside their mouths, providing protection which virtually ensures the survival of the next generation

Mr Wendt said the fishing competition had a special permit in place along with a prepared hole as a disposal point so that scavengers couldn't drag the carcass back into the water

Possessing tilapia is illegal and fines of more than $200,000 apply. Any tilapia captured by recreational anglers in Queensland must be immediately killed and disposed of.

It is illegal to use tilapia as bait, alive or dead, and certainly not to release them back into any waterway.

An angler was caught with 15 near Bundaberg recently and was fined $3000.