Community responds in a big way! Operation Target Tilapia

Man, little boy, and fish.
Eager anglers – Tim and Bowen Ey pulled up a catfish at Operation Target Tilapia.

Native vs. pest fish – Operation Target Tilapia at Mackay Gooseponds

The ‘cane toad’ of Queensland’s waters was the target for eager young anglers at a recent family fishing event designed to raise awareness of what’s happening in our waterways.

Community response to Operation Target Tilapia was overwhelming with 300 people of all ages flocking to the Mackay Gooseponds to take part.

The Reef Catchments event was funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Eight Tilapia were caught and recorded, with prizes awarded as part of the day’s fishing competition. Congratulations go to Jack Bennett for first Tilapia caught and for the most Tilapia caught. Ashley Carter scooped the pool by catching the biggest Tilapia.

Tilapia are known as the ‘cane toad’ of the water due to their capacity to dominate the aquatic ecosystem, knocking out our natives.

Reef Catchments event coordinator, Cass Hayward, said it was time to set the score straight.

“We want our native fish to thrive and flourish in healthy local waterways. This event is designed to help people better understand how to identify pest fish and the impact they have on our aquatic ecosystems,” she said.

“As part of the day’s activities, we tagged and released 250 baby barramundi, which are a natural predator able to withstand the Tilapia species.

“As well as being a fun day out, this event helps our local community learn more about what they can do to protect our waterways from invasive species and stop the spread of pest fish.

“It’s the first time the event has been held since 2015 – it got a great response then, and we are very excited to see it back this year!”

This event was run in conjunction with a wide range of community groups, business and sponsors who provided their time and energy – a truly collaborative event. A big thanks to:

BCF Mackay
Blue River Mackay Lions
Catchment Solutions
Compleat Angler
Cruise Whitsunday
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association
Mackay Christian College
Mackay Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC)
Mackay Recreational Fishing Alliance
Mackay Regional Council
Mackay Regional Pest Management Group
North Mackay Bowls Club
Pioneer Catchment Landcare
Queensland Government (Be Crocwise, Department of Environment and Science)
Southern Cross Austereo
Tackleworld Mackay

Pest fish caught on the day were counted and reported to Fisheries Queensland.

This Reef Catchments event was supported through funding from the Australian Government National Landcare Program.

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