More than 200 people enjoyed the inaugural Springfield Lakes Pest Fishing Classic held last weekend. Health, Security and Community Safety Committee Chairperson and Division 9 Councillor Sheila Ireland described it as a huge success with the possibility of further events in the future. Lendlease General Manager for Communities in Queensland, Guy Gibson said the joint Lendlease-Ipswich City Council fish-fest also raised $1075 for restocking the lake with native species. “It was a great result, 899 tilapia and 69 barred grunter were caught, equating to 144kg of pest fish removed from the lake,” he said. “Feedback from the day has been overwhelmingly positive with families enjoying the day out in the sun and the community spirit on display.” Mr Gibson said there had been much consultation over the last 12 months with many different parties at Springfield Lakes. “Lendlease consulted with the Department of Fisheries as well as Biosecurity Queensland to receive a well-informed opinion,” he said, a point also confirmed by Cr Ireland. “Community groups and residents have been involved with discussions on fishing in the lake for some time,” she said. “Before the event was coordinated, consultation was done with DAF, Biosecurity Queensland and other organisations who have been involved with pest fishing events in other LGAs to gather information on event outcomes.  “Discussion has shown that some people are in favour of fishing at the lake and some people do not agree with fishing at the lake. One-off pest fishing events can be a way to assist with eradicating pest fish, can provide an educational opportunity on pest fishing to the public and is one way to compromise on the issue. “Feedback on the day has been mainly positive. The turn out and interest in the event would be considered a high level of engagement for a local community event. Attendees seemed to appreciate the opportunity to fish at the lake even for one day and understood it was a one-off event. “Education on pest fish was provided and the benefits of getting rid of pest fish known: however, a number of people felt more fishing would be required to get rid of them completely. There was a mix of families and fishing enthusiasts. “A review of the event will be undertaken between all parties to look at the impact of the event on the community and environmentally.” Cr Ireland said the lake remains a “No Fishing” area, with signs around the lake which signify there is to be no fishing. The councillor was asked to respond to claims that  a one-day fishing event was not a very effective sustained control strategy after a local environmental group criticised the event and urged greater enforcement of no fishing in the lakes. “The event will be assessed for the environmental outcomes and Biosecurity Queensland and DAF were involved with the event to provide guidance to the public and organisers,” Cr Ireland said. “Pest fishing events may not get rid of all of the pest fish depending on the site but can help with their eradication. “A one-off event can also provide an opportunity to educate the public on pest fish and encourage correct behaviour if they are caught on any waterway.  It also helps in the identification of pest fish. “Other ways to eradicate pest fish can be discussed with Biosecurity Queensland and there are pros and cons to all methods of eradication.” Mr Gibson said Lendlease had been discussing management of the lakes with government authorities. “The pest fishing day was one way of making an impact to the pest species,” he said. Mr Gibson said handover of the lake to Ipswich City Council was currently being negotiated.
Types of pest fish caught on the day
TILAPIA:

This invasive fish species goes back to the days of ancient Egypt. It was caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee. Fisheries Queensland believe tilapia were first discovered in Townsville in 1978 and in 40 years have become known as the “cane toad of the waterways”. The 2011 floods in Ipswich and Brisbane helped tilapia disperse into many freshwater bodies throughout South East Queensland. They are a serious threat to native species in that they compete for food and space. Tilapia are built for survival and females can hatch 1000 eggs at a time. In Queensland, it is illegal to have tilapia in your possession (without approval of authorities) and if caught, must be humanely killed and disposed of away from the water body. There are substantial fines for keeping, feeding, giving away, selling or releasing tilapia into the environment.

BANDED OR BARRED GRUNTER:

Although native to northern Australia and the Lake Eyre Basin, the Bared Grunter has been introduced into South East Queensland waterways, outside their natural range. Populations are now well established in SEQ and northern NSW and, according to experts, may adversely affect the aquatic environment and other native fishes found in the area. They are often kept as aquarium fish but can be very aggressive to other species. Barred grunter can vary from 5-20cm and will eat almost anything. They are considered a pest fish in South East Queensland and should be destroyed if caught.

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