Over 1,500 pest fish reeled in at Tilapia tournament

Jase Braun, with his impressive haul of Tilapia.

THIS year’s Tilapia Tournament at Warrina Lakes was an enormous success, with 481 participants and over 1,500 Tilapia caught, then recycled into compost, and used as fertiliser at Johnstone River Community Garden.


The week-long event took place during the first week of the September school holidays and proved a popular pastime activity for children at home.


On the final day of fishing, representatives from Johnstone River Community Garden, MAMS, the Department of Environment and Science, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority and Tangaroa Blue had information stalls and activities and a barbecue.


There were twenty-six prizes awarded, including daily, bonus, and category prizes of fishing gear, and camping chairs, as well as the two major awards for the biggest fish and most fish caught overall.


Wade Bawden was the winner of this year’s Tilapia Tamer Award.


A winner of the lucky door raffle took home a kayak donated by Innisfail BCF and OzFish.


Tilapia, known as the ‘cane toad of our waterways,’ are a declared noxious fish, which are considered a pest and a biohazard, from the point of view of them spreading further around the region.

Tilapia, an ornamental fish introduced in the 1960s, have adapted extremely well to our waterways.

These fish are hardy and very tolerant of poor water quality, pollution, low oxygen levels, and all sorts of water temperatures, and are successful breeders that can exist in extremely high populations. 


They are a declared noxious fish and pose a threat to native fish stocks and the environment. It is imperative to eradicate the numbers of these destructive fish, to keep the local waterways healthy and productive for future generations.


Whilst Warrina Lakes is not normally open for fishing, the aim of the tournament is to significantly reduce Tilapia numbers in the lake environment.


The Cassowary Coast Regional Council hosted this event, with sponsorship from OzFish, BCF Innisfail and Cairns, Innisfail Game Fishing Club, Coastal Marine & Outdoors, Manitto’s Auto Centre, Soils First NQ, River ‘N’ Reef Tackle & Bait, Kurrimine Beach Fishing Club, and Johnstone River Community Garden.

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