Actions to exclude Tilapia from the MDB

Actions to exclude Tilapia from the MDB

Background

pest-fish-tilapia-feat_rdax_90Tilapia (Oreaochromis spp.) have the potential to significantly impact on ecosystems in Australia through adverse effects on water quality and instream habitat, as well as through negative interactions with native fishes and other aquatic fauna. To date, there are no confirmed reports of Tilapia occurring in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), but there are well established populations in Queensland, with at least three infested catchments bordering the northern Basin. Recent studies have indicated that, if introduced, Tilapia could become established in about 50% of the Basin. Action needs to be taken to minimise the risks of an incursion of Tilapia establishing in the MDB by concentrating actions on the northern Basin.

Findings

The Action Plan provides a strategic framework for minimizing the risks of Tilapia incursions occurring in the MDB. Strategies and actions are listed under the following headings:

  • Immediate actions.
  • Coordination and stakeholder ownership.
  • Prevention (natural dispersal and human aided dispersal).
  • Preparedness (surveillance and rapid response capacity.
  • Toolbox (tools available to manage tilapia and priority requirements for the development of new tools).

The Action Plan also lists possible funding sources and monitoring and evaluation requirements. The Action Plan has a 10-year lifespan after which it should be reviewed.

The Implementation Plan lists the key actions that should be undertaken in the first three years of the Action Plan. Coordination and community awareness were seen as the highest priorities given that the most likely pathway for Tilapia into the MDB was through human aided translocation. Specific priorities identified were:

  • Establishment of a steering committee and community consultative committee.
  • Implementation of immediate communication activities using existing education and extension materials and methods.
  • Concentrating on increasing community understanding of the Tilapia threat, how to identify fish and how to report sightings.
  • Concentrating initial communication activities on highest risk areas.
  • Identify community “champions” to assist in communication activities.

Implications for native fish

The potential impacts of Tilapia on native fish in the MDB are significant and control measures are likely to be expensive and largely ineffectual if they do become established in the Basin. Prevention is by far the preferred option. Priority should be given to implementing the Action Plan to reduce the risks of a Tilapia incursion.

References

Project MD 2154 – Tilapia exclusion strategy

MD2154 Northern Basin Tilapia Exclusion Strategy Development Final Report. Implementation Plan to exclude tilapia from the northern Murray-Darling Basin 2012-2014 Condamine Alliance, 2012 for the Murray Darling Basin Authority

Ayres R. and Clunie, P. (2010). Towards a national emergency response system for freshwater fish incursions. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. (2011). Pest fish alert: tilapia threat. Queensland Government, Brisbane, Australia.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (2011). Control of Pest fish-An operational strategy for Quensland fresh waters 2011-2016, Queensland Government.

Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (2008). Noxious Fish Rapid Response Manual 2008, Queensland Government.

Doolan, D. (2012). Social research to understand knowledge of and attitude towards tilapia in communities within or nearby the Murray-Darling Basin. In: Hall, K.G. (2012). Forum abstracts: Tilapia in Australia-state of knowledge. 15-16 May 2012, Brisbane. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Doupe, RG., Knott, M.J., Schaffer, J., Burrows, D.W. and Lymbery, A.J. (2009). Experimental herbivory of native Australian macrophytes by the introduced Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus. Austral Ecology.

Hutchison, M., Sarac, Z. and Norris, A. (2011). Mozambique tilapia. The potential for Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus to invade the Murray-Darling Basin and the likely impacts: a review of existing information. Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra, Australia.

Maddern, M.G., Morgan, D.L. and Gill, H.S. (2007). Distribution, diet and potential ecological impacts of the introduced Mozambique mouthbrooder Oreochromis mossambicus Peters (Pisces: Cichlidae) in Western Australia. Journal Roy Soc Western Australia, 90: 203-214.

Norris, A., Hutchison, M. and Chilcott, K. (2012). Developing strategies to reduce the risk of tilapia incursions into the Murray-Darling Basin. Science and Surveillance. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Brisbane, Australia.

Ovenden, J.R., Macbeth, M.G. , Pope, L., Broderick, D. and Street, R. (in Prep). Invasion genetics of tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) in Queensland, Australia. In: Hall, K.G. (in prep) Proceedings: Tilapia in Australia- state of knowledge. 15-16 May 2012, Brisbane. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Russell, D.J., Thuesen, P.A. and Small, F.E. (2010). Tilapia in Australia: Development of management strategies for the control and eradication of feral tilapia populations in Australia. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Russell, D.J., Thuesen, P.A. and Thomson, F.E. (2012). A review of the biology, ecology, distribution and control of Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus (Peters 1852) (Pisces:Cichlidae) with particular emphasis on invasive Australian populations. Rev.Fish.Biol. Fisheries.

Russell, R., Pearce, M. and Small, F. (in prep.) Eureka Creek tilapia infestation – a threat to western drainages. A Case Study. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Sterwart, D. (2012 a). Tilapia in Queensland: where are they and where do they threaten? In: Hall, K.G. (2012). Forum abstracts: Tilapia in Australia- state of knowledge. 15-16 May 2012, Brisbane. PestSmart Toolkit publication. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

Stewart, D. (2012 b). Helping the community help us stop pest fish? In: Hall, K.G. (2012). Forum abstracts: Tilapia in Australia-state of Knowledge, 15-16 May 2012, Brisbane. PestSmart Toolkit publication. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

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