View Full Version : Alligator Gar banned in queensland among others

06-24-2009, 05:42 PM
Daniel Hurst
June 24, 2009 - 4:59PM
Exotic fish enthusiasts beware - the Queensland Government is about to quadruple the number of banned species.

Electric eels, piranhas and walking catfish are among 18 species already on the state's noxious fish blacklist, but this list will expand to more than 70 on August 1.

The move will force the owners of breeds such as the Chinese swordfish, stinging catfish, pygmy sunfish and aba aba to apply for a permit to avoid a maximum $200,000 fine.

Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries biologist Dan Willett said the state was home to some "die-hard hobbyists" who collected rare and strange fish types from around the world, but authorities had been forced to increase the number of blacklisted fish to keep in line with a national strategy.

"They're banned because of the potential damage they could do to our environment if they were to be let loose," Mr Willett told brisbanetimes.com.au.

"They would displace our native fish by competing for food and habitat space and may spread disease as well."

He said the exotic fish, sourced from Africa, Asia and the Americas, were suited to freshwater but some of them tolerated salt water.

They were unlikely to have been purchased in a regular pet shop, he said.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said the changes would mainly affect hobbyists and the aquarium and aquaculture industries.

"We've already got a battle on our hands trying to eradicate tilapia, one of the world's most invasive fish species, from waterways around the state," he said.

"We don't want a repeat. Our studies show that if tilapia become established in the Gulf of Carpentaria catchments, they could reduce the yields in the commercial barramundi fishery by 20 per cent, costing more than $2 million a year."

Existing owners will have the option to surrender or dispose of banned species or apply for a permit.

They can phone 13 25 23 or visit www.dpi.qld.gov.au for advice.