An invasive species of freshwater fish called tilapia will soon be targeted in an event aimed at raising awareness of the devastating impacts the pest has on the environment.
Organised by Bundaberg Regional Council, the Tilapia Fishing Competition and Awareness Day will be held on Saturday, 18 January from 6am to 12 noon at Sandy Hook.
Environment portfolio spokesman Cr Wayne Honor said the free competition would not be about catching the biggest or the most fish, but would instead focus on removing tilapia from the waterway.
“This family-friendly fishing competition is aimed at raising awareness of the impacts of invasive fish,” Cr Honor said.
“Specifically, we want to raise community awareness of the negative impacts of tilapia and other introduced pest fish on our coastal waterways.”
The tilapia species was first introduced in Australia in the 70s as an ornamental fish and has been destroying waterways ever since.
Tilapia a threat to the environment
Cr Honor said tilapia could grow up to 30cm and were regarded as one of the greatest threats to Australia’s native biodiversity.
“These fish are very successful in dominating habitats due to their highly efficient reproductive strategy, simple food requirements and their ability to live in a variety of conditions,” he said.
“Tilapia can behave aggressively and disturb plant beds when building nests.”
Cr Honor said it was hoped the fishing competition would attract keen freshwater anglers and families alike to help spread the message of the tilapia species.
“This fishing competition will have people aiming to catch this invasive species, which will then be humanely destroyed, while at the same time learning how to identify tilapia pest fish and invasive plants in our waterways,” he said.
“These invasive species can drastically change the shape of our natural waterways and by reducing their numbers, we can help protect other animals including endangered freshwater turtles and more.”
Cr Honor said the event was open to all levels of fishing experience with categories for juniors and adults included on the day.
“There will be fishing industry and pest displays including a native fish and pest fish display trailer and aquarium by the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland,” he said.
“Participants can compete for a range of prizes in different categories, take home information packs, there will be activity booklets for the kids and food and drink will be available for purchase on the day.”
The competition is not the first of its kind, with City of Gold Coast introducing Gold Coast Tilapia Buster in 2015, which has since grown to become the biggest pest fish event in Queensland.
Registration is now open for the Tilapia Fishing Competition and Awareness Day 2020.
Click here to sign up.