[acn-l] Tilapia threat for Gulf (fwd)

PETER.UNMACK at asu.edu
Mon, 11 Dec 2000 08:38:32 -0700 (MST)

This should be of interest to folks. I didn't include the attachments, but if
someone wants them just email me and I'll forward them to you.

Peter Unmack (peter.unmack at asu.edu)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rivers Project Officer [SMTP:rivers at qccqld.org.au]
> Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 3:47 PM
> To: ecnt; ASL list
> Cc: dennisrose at ledanet.com.au
> Subject: [asl] URGENT: Tilapia threat for Gulf
> Importance: High
> Hi Everyone.
> I have recently been made aware of the Tilapia infestation in Tinaroo
> Falls
> Dam in north Queensland. The Dam is situated in the Barron catchment and
> there is an immediate threat of this infestation spreading to the rivers
> of
> the Gulf via interbasin transfers from the Barron catchment to the
> Mitchell
> River Basin. As opposed to the majority of northern Queensland catchments,
> Tilapia are currently not found in any of the Gulf river systems.
> Following is a quick brief of the situation:
> 1. There is currently a Tilapia infestation in Tinaroo Falls Dam, located
> in
> the Barron catchment.
> 2. Inter-basin transfers currently exist between the Barron catchment and
> the Mitchell River Basin which flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria. An
> irrigation outlet within Tinaroo Falls Dam wall releases water into
> irrigation channels which transfer the water to the Mitchell River Basin
> portion of the Mareeba-Dimbulah irrigation area.
> 3. As opposed to the majority of northern Queensland catchments, Tilapia
> are
> currently not found in any of the Gulf river systems.
> 4. The Department of Primary Industries' Regional Planning Process for the
> Barron/Mitchell, contained within the draft "Freshwater Strategy for the
> Control of Exotic Pest Fish in Queensland" has identified Tilapia within
> metres of the irrigation outlet. This Regional Planning Process has
> indicated that if immediate action is not undertaken the fish will soon
> spread to the Mitchell River Basin and thence onto river systems within
> the
> Gulf of Carpentaria and potentially through to the Northern Territory.
> 5. Additionally, DPI officers undertook exotic fish surveys of the Dam in
> the second week of October and recorded Tilapia within 20 metres of the
> Dam
> wall.
> 7. There are a number of management options available that could be
> implemented to stop a Tilapia invasion of the Gulf:
> * The proclamation of an immediate moratorium on inter-basin transfers
> from the Barron catchment to the Mitchell River Basin. This option
> would
> allow the State Government to adequately consider longer-term solutions to
> the problem. It would be an entirely feasible option given that the wet
> season should be able to provide adequate water to the Mitchell Basin
> portion of the Mareeba-Dimbulah irrigation area. However, a thorough
> exploration of this option would need to be undertaken as a moratorium may
> not be suffice to prevent the Tilapia spreading over the dam spillway;
> * Immediate action of screening, electrical and net barrier methods.
> These methods have been costed by the Department of Natural Resources at a
> ballpark figure of $5-$10 million, a small expense given the possible cost
> of the impact of Tilapia upon Gulf fisheries industries;
> * Screening the irrigation water which flows from the Barron River to
> the Mitchell River via the channel system;
> * Funding the placement and maintenance of barrier nets to prevent
> fish
> going over the spillway year round;
> * Immediately funding research into barrier methods (electrical,
> chemical or mechanical); and
> * Immediately funding research into population control for known areas
> of infestation. John Russell, DPI Fisheries Cairns, recommends the
> breeding
> of sterile, triploid gene Tilapia and their introduction into infected
> areas
> as a population control mechanism.
> The river systems of the Gulf contain some of the highest conservation
> values of all Queensland's rivers. Tilapia will have a disastrous effect
> not
> only on these values but also on the breeding grounds of barramundi,
> prawns
> and other commercial fisheries species of the Gulf of Carpentaria that are
> crucial to both the Queensland and the Northern Territory economies.
> Accordingly, the Gulf deserves immediate protection from Tilapia invasion.
> I have written to the Minister for Natural Resource alerting him to the
> immediacy of this threat. It would be great if all of you could write to
> the
> Queensland Government outlining your concerns over the threat of the
> noxious
> Tilapia invading the Gulf and potentially the NT.
> Write to:
> Premier Beattie
> PO Box 185
> Brisbane Albert Street Qld 4002
> Fax: 07 3221 3631
> premiers at ministerial.qld.gov.au
> The Hon Rod Welford MLA
> Minister for Environment and Heritage
> and Minister for Natural Resources
> PO Box 456
> Brisbane Albert Street Qld 4002
> Fax: 07 3210 6214
> environment&natural at ministerial.qld.gov.au
> I would appreciate any further information anyone may have on this
> situation. Also, if anyone knows of any reports looking at costings for
> dealing with Tilapia infestation, can you let me know.
> I have also attached an open letter and a media release from the Mitchell
> River Watershed Management Group Inc who have been trying to alert the
> State
> to the urgency of this threat. I have also attachedDPI Summary Notes on
> Tilapia.
> Thanks,
> Kerryn O'Conor
> Rivers Project Officer
> Rivers Alive!
> Queensland Conservation Council
> PO Box 12046
> Elizabeth St Brisbane 4002
> Ph 07 3221 0188
> Fax 07 3229 7992
> rivers at qccqld.org.au
> <<PressRelease.doc>> <<tilapiaopenletter.doc>> <<Tilapia.doc>>
> <<ATT82417.txt>>

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