Tilapia invasion fears in Gladstone waterways tested
FEARS pest fish species tilapia had spread throughout waterways in Central Queensland have been put to rest with the results from Fitzroy Basin Association's recent testing.
Samples from 15 sites during April and May from locations including Boat Creek, Lake Callemondah, Boyne and Calliope rivers, showed no infestations of tilapia.
The organisation tested waterways throughout Central Queensland to ensure the fish had not spread from the Yeppen Lagoon, a known tilapia infested waterways.
Infestations are usually caused by people moving the fish between waterways or using them as bait.
However, following widespread flooding events across the Basin in 2017, testing was required to ensure this had not enabled the spread of tilapia.
FBA's senior project officer Shannon Van Nunen said the organisation used Environmental DNA or eDNA testing to confirm the species, listed in the world's 100 worst invasive, had not spread.
The samples from the 15 sites were sent to Melbourne on ice to be analysed by a team of experts.
Ms Van Nunen said all sample sites, excluding Yeppen Lagoon showed no infestations of tilapia.
She said while this did not rule out the possibility of small numbers of the fish living in the locations, it showed that the species were not dominating the waterway. "While these results are worth celebrating the work is not done," she said.
"Keeping tilapia under control is an ongoing effort and early detection of the invasive species can greatly increase the success of control measures."