Boaties' fish dinner costs them thousands
FISHERIES officers have seized two monofilament nets and 15 tilapia - including one being cooked on a barbecue - at Sandy Hook on the Burnett River.
The offenders were fined $3132 by Queensland Fisheries patrol officers after a member of the public reported the unlawful incident.
Tilapia are a no-take species and a restricted noxious fish under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, tilapia must be humanely destroyed upon capture and disposed of responsibly, either buried a suitable distance from the waterway where it was caught, or placed in a rubbish bin away from the water.
The species was first introduced into Australia in the 1970s as ornamental fish, however, the pest is now considered one of the greatest threats to Australia's native biodiversity.
A spokesperson told the NewsMail it was illegal to keep, feed, give away, sell or release tilapia, dead or alive, into the environment without a permit.
Fines for possession may be up to $63,000.
"Tilapia are an exotic pest plaguing waterways across much of Queensland. Once established in a catchment, these fish soon spread to all neighbouring rivers and tributaries," the spokesperson said.
"Tilapia can rapidly outnumber native fish and dominate aquatic communities. They compete with native species for habitat and food, behave aggressively and disturb plant beds when building nests.
"They also cause loss of favourite fishing locations due to invasion and destruction of habitats.
"Female tilapia are mouth brooders and carry juveniles and eggs in their mouths. These juveniles and eggs can survive for a considerable time after the adult fish dies.
"New infestations of tilapia can very easily occur when live or dead fish are not disposed of immediately and in the correct way."
A person from Bundaberg was also fined this week after being caught tampering with the department's cameras installed at a local river system.
The $1261 penalty was issued after the perpetrator made a complaint to the department in relation to interference with mudcrab pots.
The complaint prompted patrollers to deploy cameras in the area, which the Bundaberg person was later seen interfering with.
A spokesperson said it was "an offence to interfere with another person's fishing gear and can incur heavy penalties".
You can report derelict crab pots or illegal activity to Fishwatch on 1800 017 116.