Sampling for peacock bass underway at Mackay

News release | 19-Jan-2018

Sampling of the Pioneer River at Mackay is underway to determine the extent of the reported incursion of the freshwater pest fish, peacock bass.

Fisheries Queensland Deputy Director General Scott Spencer said initial investigations indicate a single peacock bass was caught and released below the Dumbleton Weir in December 2017.

“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has engaged environmental research group Catchment Solutions Pty Ltd who have commenced sampling today (Friday, 19 January 2018),” Mr Spencer said.

“The aim of the sampling is to confirm whether there are peacock bass in the Pioneer River, and if they are there, to ascertain the extent of the incursion to inform whether further response actions may be effective.

“Initial sampling will focus on the area below Dumbleton Weir and extend to Marian Weir and Mirani Weir upstream mid next week. The sampling is expected to be completed by the end of next week."

Peacock bass are considered non-indigenous fish under the Fisheries Act 1994 and are not known to exist in Queensland waters. Once they become established in large, open waterways it can be very difficult to eradicate them.

The source of the peacock bass reportedly in the Pioneer River is unknown.

It is an offence to release non-indigenous fish into Queensland waters as it can have detrimental impacts to our native fish populations. Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing activities is encouraged to report it to the Fishwatch hotline by calling 1800 017 116.

Mr Spencer said the public played an important role in helping stop the spread of pest fish.

“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries encourages people to help by learning how to identify pest fish, not facilitating their spread between waterways and to report pest fish sightings,” he said.

“Anglers who catch or spot peacock bass in the Pioneer River can assist by taking a photo and reporting it online at www.daf.qld.gov.au or by calling 13 25 23.”

If caught, peacock bass should not be returned to the water.

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