Appeal for information about illegal take of protected lungfish

News release | 18-Oct-2018

Fisheries officers investigating the unlawful take of protected lungfish on the Brisbane River at Gregors Creek are seeking assistance from the public.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Brett Depper said a Toogoolawah resident found 12 dead lungfish at the Alf Williams Bridge on Gregors Creek Road on Sunday.

“The lungfish, which are a protected no-take species in Queensland, seem to have been caught and discarded on the river bank,” Mr Depper said.

“Based on the state of decomposition, the lungfish have probably been there for the past week.

“We are asking anyone with information to come forward, whether they have direct knowledge of the offending or if they saw people camping in the area and can give a description of vehicles.

“Members of the public can call the 24 hour toll-free Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 and provide information anonymously if they wish.”

Mr Depper said the maximum penalty for taking a protected fish under Queensland fisheries laws is $130,550.

“If a protected fish is caught, it must not be removed from the water and should be released immediately and not intentionally or recklessly injured, damaged or subjected to undue stress,” he said.

Australian lungfish

  • Among Australian fishes, the Australian lungfish is generally regarded as the most unique and interesting, due to its strange features, restricted distribution and evolutionary lineage.
  • This species is considered to be one of the few surviving links in the evolutionary chain between fishes and amphibians.
  • Australian lungfish have survived unchanged for at least 200 million years.
  • The species is only naturally found in the Burnett and Mary Rivers.
  • Populations were also introduced into Enoggera Reservoir and the Brisbane, Pine, Albert Coomera and Condamine Rivers at the turn of the last century to mitigate the risks of extinction. Populations only established in Enoggera Reservoir and the Brisbane and Pine Rivers.
  • Australian lungfish are a protected, no-take species in Queensland.
  • The species is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
  • Australian lungfish can grow to 1.5 metres in length but are most commonly found at 1 metre.
  • The species can live to over 100 years old and reaches maturity between 10 – 20 years of age.

Media contact: DAF media, media@daf.qld.gov.au