haematopoietic necrosis (EHN). A number ofnative species, including silver perch, Murray cod,mountain galaxias and particularly Macquarieperch, are highly susceptible to this disease, andEHN virus may be one factor responsible for thedecline in various native species over the last fewdecades.
Species of potential concern to NSW
Any species that establishes in an area where itdoes not naturally occur has the potential tobecome a pest and a serious threat to our nativespecies. Two species of concern that pose apotentially significant threat to NSW waterways aretilapia and didymo.
Tilapia are listed in the top 100 of the world’s worstintroduced fish species. Tilapia is the commonname given for fish from
spp., all from the Cichlidae family. Thesevarieties of tilapia were previously traded in theaquarium industry. They are extremely hardy fishwith highly efficient breeding strategies (includingmouthbrooding), simple food requirements andflexible habitat preferences.While there are no existing populations of tilapia inNSW, three species of tilapia, Mozambiquemouthbrooder (
, blackmangrove cichlid (
) and redbellytilapia (
) have established successfulbreeding populations in Queensland, Victoria andWestern Australia. These species would pose asignificant threat to NSW native fish species if theywere to spread to and establish in NSW.
), a freshwateralgae more commonly known as ‘rock snot’, is notknown to occur in Australia but has established inareas of the northern hemisphere and the SouthIsland of New Zealand. This highly invasivespecies can be easily spread by just one drop ofaffected water. It forms dense brown clumps andcan smother aquatic habitats.
Mozambique mouthbrooder (Oreochromis mossambicus) are listed as Class 1 noxious in NSW.Photo: Gunther Schmida Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata), a freshwater diatom, forms a thick brown slimy layer and is commonly referred to as ‘rock-snot’. Photo: Stuart Sutherland
Didymo can attach to clothing and shoes, fishinggear or boating equipment. Eradication is virtuallyimpossible once it has become established within awaterbody. Fishers are at risk of accidentallyintroducing didymo in NSW waters by usingcontaminated fishing gear and equipment, such asfelt-soled waders. If you have visited an areaknown to contain didymo, please ensure youcheck, clean and dry fishing gear and equipmentbefore bringing your gear home.
Pest fish and recreational fishing
Recreational anglers are often the first to noticenew pest species in NSW waterways and canprovide valuable information on new incursions ofpest fish by reporting new sightings to I&I NSW.Pest fish, including carp and redfin, can be popularwith anglers; however it is recommended that pestfish be humanely dispatched and utilised, and notreturned to the water.
Anglers can provide valuable information by reporting sightings of pest fish. Photo: Glen Towler
Anglers should note that it is illegal to use live baitin NSW freshwater systems and any fish or anypart of a fish not native to the waters of NSW(other than dead carp).
Freshwater pest fish in New South Wales p 3