Climbing perch are native to Asia, where they are commercially fished as an important food source. They have an accessory air-breathing organ, which allows them to survive out of the water for several days in moist conditions. This gives them the ability to travel across land on their pectoral fins.
They have a highly developed predatory nature, and in times of drought, are able to bury themselves in the mud to survive. Although there are currently few reported cases of climbing perch in the wild in Australia, the species' dispersal and survival ability presents a high risk to Queensland's aquatic environment. North Queensland is especially at risk, as there have been confirmed reports of climbing perch in the Torres Strait Islands.
Climbing perch is a restricted noxious fish under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
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