An increase in online classified advertisements selling declared noxious fish has prompted Queensland Boating and Fishing Patrol (QBFP) to issue a warning about the illegal practice.
QBFP officer James Hohenhaus said Queenslanders are encouraged to join the fight against declared noxious fish species by reporting any catches or sightings, including any advertisements selling them in print media and online.
'It is illegal to bring noxious fish into Queensland; possess, rear, sell or buy noxious fish; and release noxious fish into Queensland waters,' he said.
'These rules apply to fish that are alive or dead, parts of a fish (e.g. fillets) and fish to be used as bait.
'Any person who comes into possession of a noxious fish in Queensland is legally required to humanely kill the fish and dispose of it by burying it well away from the water or putting it in a rubbish bin.
'Breaching these laws is a serious offence and can attract a maximum fine of up to $220,000,' he said.
Mr Hohenhaus said QBFP relied on the community’s help to identify and report pest fish species.
'The Fishwatch Hotline has experienced an increase in the number of complaints received about noxious fish being advertised for sale on classified websites and social media.
'Thanks to concerned members of the public, a number of people illegally buying and selling noxious fish online have been caught,' he said.
Mr Hohenhaus said noxious fish have negative social, economic and environmental impacts.
'Noxious fish including tilapia, gambusia (Mosquito fish) and carp are destructive species of fish that could cause great harm to native species and the environment if released into waterways.
'These species are often sought after by ornamental fish enthusiasts and backyard pond owners despite being declared harmful and illegal to possess under Queensland law.
'People can help to stop the spread of noxious fish by knowing how to identify them, not spreading them between waterways, and reporting sightings or unlawful sales of them to the 24-hour Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.'
For more information on pest fish, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
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