|  First Published: December 2011

Fishers benefit from Fisheries Patrol Survelliance.

The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have joined forces to maximise services to fishers in remote western Queensland .

QBFP District Officer Coby Walker said the agencies were collaborating in the areas of Cooper Creek, and the Warrego, Paroo and Bulloo river systems to protect vulnerable fisheries resources.

"It’s great to be able to work alongside police officers to protect our state’s resources,” he said.

“Western Queensland is a difficult area to patrol due to its size and remoteness, and the cooperative arrangements between QBFP and QPS will produce significant community benefits for regional Queensland .

“These benefits include fair access to fisheries resources and sustainable fish populations."

QPS District Inspector Michael Dowie said he was supportive of Queensland police officers assisting Fisheries Queensland to detect and deter fisheries offences in remote regions.

"The collaborative efforts of the two agencies in recent times has produced fantastic results, and will obviously protect fish stocks in the area,” he said.

“QPS officers from Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Charleville and Quilpie stations have been providing assistance to QBFP, and have detected many offences themselves.

“QPS intends to continue supporting QBFP officers whenever and wherever necessary to provide community benefits for future generations."

Mr Walker said continued community support was important in helping officers identify illegal fishing offences in the region.

“Many of the results achieved have been via community involvement,” he said.

“These include complaints and information that have led to detection of offences.

“Some of the more common offences include possession of unlawful nets and excessive take of golden perch (yellowbelly) and yabbies (blueclaw).

“We ask community members to continue to report illegal fishing activity to the Fishwatch hotline (Phone 1800 017 116) and to fish responsibly by acquainting themselves with the latest recreational fishing rules.”

Pest fish on the move in Queensland

Tilapia, one of the world’s most invasive fish species, is spreading rapidly throughout the State and Fisheries Queensland is urging the community to be vigilant in the fight to stop the spread.

These fish are regarded as one of the greatest threats to Australia’s aquatic ecosystem.

Two species of tilapia have infested Queensland waterways: the Mozambique tilapia and the spotted tilapia. These two species are now distributed throughout many locations in Queensland and are threatening to invade new waterways.

It is almost impossible to eradicate a population of tilapia from a flowing river or creek. Therefore, the public needs to be aware or these pests and know what they can do to help stop them from spreading further.

The public could help control the spread of tilapia by knowing how to identify them, avoiding any actions that could result in them being moved between waterways and reporting them.

It is illegal to use tilapia as live or dead bait and if anyone catches a tilapia, they must kill it humanely and bury it instead of returning it to the water.

People should also make sure they stock dams or ponds with native fish, as it is illegal to stock tilapia. Penalties of up to $200,000 apply for people found with tilapia in their possession.

How to identify tilapia

An easy way to distinguish tilapia from most native fish is by looking at their dorsal (upper) fin. Tilapia have a continuous dorsal fin that ends in an extended point, while most natives have a dorsal fin with a dent in the middle and a rounded end.

Their pelvic (belly) fins are also very long and almost touch the front of the anal (bottom) fin. Most native fish have short pelvic fins.

Mozambique tilapia can vary in colour from dark grey to light silver, while spotted tilapia have more of an olive colour to them. Both species can have dark blotches on their sides.

Mozambique tilapia have a pronounced jaw and mature males can also have red edgings on their fins.

What can you do to help?

When reporting a sighting you should provide information such as date and location of sighting, description of fish, a photo (if possible) and a brief description of the waterway.

Fisheries Queensland uses public reports of sightings to respond to any new tilapia infestations quickly before breeding populations establish.

For more information or to report a pest fish sighting phone 13 25 23.

Economic Survey of Stocked Impoundments

Central Queensland University and Queensland Fisheries are carrying out a survey of visitors to Queensland dams where fish stocking occurs. This survey will provide dam managers and government with a better understanding of the economic benefits which the stocked impoundment scheme creates for state and local communities and for visitors alike.

The aim of this survey is to estimate values of recreation at stocked dams and to provide information about the reasons why people travel to dams. Supplied with this information, dam managers and fish stocking groups will be able to better meet the needs and wants of visitors to their dams.

The survey should take between 10-20 minutes to complete. If you have picked it up from a dam kiosk or tackle store feel free to complete it in your own time and return on completion to the place where you obtained it.

The information obtained from this survey is completely anonymous and confidential. No identifying details for you will be asked nor recorded for this survey. The survey is also completely voluntary.

The survey is being carried out at 8 dams across Queensland: Glen Lyon Dam, Somerset Dam, Boondooma Dam, Lake Monduran, Lake Awoonga Dam, Teemburra Dam, Tinaroo Dam and Lake Moondarra. – Les Kowitz, FFSAQ

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