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Keep an eye out for pest fish!

We need the community’s help to report any sightings of the pest fish species, Tilapia.
Published: 08 April 2022

Illustrations of male and female Mozambique Tilapia fish, and invasive pest species
Male (left) and female (right) Mozambique Tilapia fish. Source: DAF Qld

Lots of water in many of the Basin’s catchments is a great sign. But with overflowing dams and full creeks comes the risk of pest fish escaping and spreading into new areas – even from your garden pond or farm dam!  

There are many introduced fish in the Murray–Darling Basin, but there is one pest species we are particularly keen to keep out of the Basin: Tilapia.

Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus or the Mozambique mouth brooder) is an introduced fish species found in Australia and many other parts of the world. World authorities consider this pest to be one of the top 100 invasive species. Tilapia has become established in one north-eastern New South Wales and some south-east Queensland catchments bordering the Basin. It is particularly harmful to natural waterways in Australia.

So far, Tilapia is yet to invade the Murray–Darling Basin, and we’d like to keep it that way. Biosecurity Queensland is investigating reports that Tilapia have been spotted in Cooby Creek, north of Toowoomba. Monitoring is continuing at this site but there is no confirmation yet.

There are real fears that if Tilapia becomes established within the Basin, the already stressed native fish and aquatic communities will be even further damaged.

Close up photo of the head section of a Tilapia fish.
Keep an eye out for pest fish! Source: DAF Qld

How can you help?

Learn about Tilapia and how to identify them here: How can we keep the invasive Tilapia out of the Murray–Darling Basin – Finterest.

Remain vigilant, and report suspected infestations or potential escapes to your state authority:

  • In New South Wales, pest fish sightings can be reported on the Department of Primary Industry’s 24-hour emergency hotline: 1800 675 888 or complete the online form or email:
  • In Queensland, report suspected infestations to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Biosecurity Queensland on 132 523 or get on the DAF website and follow the pest fish prompts.

In Victoria, South Australia and the ACT, Tilapia are unlikely to be seen, however, you can report unusual fish sightings or other biosecurity concerns to the authorities relevant to your state or territory:

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