This article, written by Norm Halliwell will run over three weeks
This is my third paper on this subject, with my first paper being produced in1987, and my second paper being produced in 2007, and NOTHING HAS CHANGEDsince 1987 and that is 35 years (both dates included) in that StockingAgencies, Government Fisheries Departments, and instrumentalities are STILLallowing without impunity of any kind, the introduction of mainly Native andsome Non-Native Freshwater Finfish being deliberately liberated intoenvironments outside their natural range.
Just about all Government instrumentalities are quick to blame the AquariumIndustry for deliberately liberating ornamental finfish into the environmentaround Australia, just like Corfield et al 2008, did when they drew up a listof some 30 species of ornamental finfish that they stated had created feralpopulations of these finfish enclosed in their list. However , no mentionhas ever been made of whether these finfish are still in existence in thewild, simply because there has not been any follow up as to the authenticityof these introductions. The 30 species listed by Corfield et al 2008, are asfollows:
Species Name: Date Found Species Name Date Found
Hybrid Cichlid( Labeo/Pseudo) 2001 Jewel cichlid 2000
Haplochromis burtoni 1998 Tilapia mariae 1978
Tilapia zillii 1978 Oreo. aureus No Date
Oreo. mossambicus 1970’s Oscar 1998
Cich. trimaculatum 1998 Jack Dempsey 2004
Severum No Date Thor. Meekii No Date
Vieja synspilum No date Red Devil (A. labiatum) 1992
Red Devil (A. citrinellum) 1992 Green Terror No Date
Blue Acara 2000 Convict 1978
Pearl Cichlid No Date Platy’s 1970’s
Sailfin Molly 1969 Guppies 1970’s
Phallo. caudimaculatus 1970’s Three spot gourami 2000
Weatherloach 1984 Goldfish 1976
Rosy barbs No date Sumatran barb No Date
White Clouds 2003
I have received reliable information on some of these so called feralpopulations from this list of 30 finfish from a very reliable source in RollyMcKay the only Ichthyologist in Australia in personal communication with him,as follows;
- The Hybrid cichlid (Labeotropheus/Pseudotropheus) was released into Hazelwood Power station pondage in Victoria apparently in 2001, where it would never get out into the lower reaches of rivers that flow from this pondage due to the lower lethal temperatures that existed there. This place is like a huge outdoor thermal pond, that any HUMAN would survive in as it was at a regular 26-28 degrees celcius all year round. I say WAS as this place the Hazelwood Power Station was closed in March 2018, where any temperate finfish ceased to exist as the water temperature plummeted to under 10.5 degrees celcius.
- Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatum) was found in a Botanical garden in Cairns Queensland, that could easily be removed by electrofishing by authorities , but this does not happen as the authorities feel it is unnecessary. They (the authorities) want to continue to admonish our Aquarium Industry for such introductions, so it does not suit them to remove this species.
- Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) are now considered to have died out in Cairns (R.McKay pers.comm.).
- Cichlasoma trimaculatum was introduced into Hinze dam in Queensland that did not establish a breeding population, so it is an introduction only. Soon to die out with age. (R.McKay per.comm).
- Jack Dempsey (Cichlasoma octofasciatum) was released into an Angourie Quarry in Northern NSW, and into Hazelwood Power station, which has now been eliminated. The Angourie Quarry release could also be eliminated if needed, BUT the authorities feel it is unnecessary , because it cannot get out of this Quarry and into other waters nearby.
- Firemouth cichlid (Thorichthys meekii) and Banded Cichlid (Heros severum) no longer exist in the Ross River in North Queensland as they were an introduction and not an establishment and have since died out (R.McKay in pers.comm.).
- Red Headed cichlid (Vieja synspilum) should be removed from this list as no data is shown as to its existence. Also not shown by Lintermans 2004 in his paper, so it should not be shown from here on in, as it does not exist.
- Convict cichlid (Archocentrus nigrofasciatum) is in Eel Hole Creek, and the La Trobe River in Victoria, having escaped from Hazelwood power station, is too ludicrous to even consider this to be correct, as the water temperatures out of Hazelwood Power Station would never allow an ornamental finfish to survive such extreme lower temperatures, so this should be removed instantly, and also, the Hazelwood Power station was closed in March 2018.
- Blue Acara (Aequidens pulcher) is no longer present in creeks in Brisbane, and Leslie Dam in Queensland , (R.McKay pers.comm.).
- Sumatran Barb (Puntius tetrazona), should be removed forthwith as no data is shown as to its existence in the wild.
- Rosy Barb (Puntius conchonius) is now considered to be extinct from streams, and south of
Brisbane Queensland (R.McKay pers.comm.).
- Oreochromis aureum, Pearl Cichlid and Green Terror cichlid should all be removed as no data is shown for these species existence.
So, again the list of 30 species should now be 17, still too many ornamentalfinfish in the environment that I am happy with, BUT, introductions andtranslocations of NATIVE and NON-NATIVE finfish continue to escape/bereleased in enormous numbers by Fisheries Departments, and/or stockingagencies, recreational fisherman, and landholders from all around Australia.
I have pulled apart many of these lists over the past 35 years and haveadvised authorities of these errors but these lists never get amended byanybody within Government circles, because it simply does not help theircause, and they should be amended to give a more true and accurate pictureof establishments.
Gambusia spp. (namely G. affinis, and G.holbrooki) the commonly calledMosquitofish were first introduced into Australia in 1925 as a control agentfor the mosquito populations that had proliferated over the years, BUT itfailed miserably, and in the process has spread all over our continent byGovernments of all persuasions both State and Local, and into just about everystream, brook, river system and impoundments like Farm Dams, golf Courses andthe like in order to control mosquito populations. They are a noxiousspecies all around Australia and rightly so, as they are in many other partsof the World. They have been known to kill our native Golden Perch (Macquariaambigua) when they are stocked into impoundments like Dams, where the Gambusiaare in plague proportions, as they continually nip the fins of the Perch andthis creates stress on the Perch which in some instances develop intobacterial or fungal diseases and the Perch perish because of this fin nipping.I read this somewhere but cannot find the source of this information rightnow.
This species has been spread around every water course, and/or any place wherewater is lying exposed to the elements and the like, to control mosquitoinfestations, however, it has also been implicated in the sudden demise of thenative Honey Blue Eye (Pseudomugil mellis) due to the spread of mosquitofish(G holbrooki) and are now classified as Endangered in the wild. (IUCN in1996). Female Gambusia spp at 6cm in length give birth to around 60 young, andthese young reach maturity at around two months of age and soon produce theirown young, so their life cycle is rather quick, and if you do not remove themfrom the place that they are in, they will over populate it in very quicktime.
Gambusia holdbrooki have been placed into Class 3 in NSW (see ornamental fishupdate) when I asked the NSW Fisheries Department to allow this species forsale, as a feeder fish to other Aquarists for their in-house aquarium forother larger species, eg, Cichlids of all kinds and other large ornamentalfinfish, so the collection from local waterways could be allowed and sold as afeeder fish ONLY in Pet Shops in NSW, and they remain the same to this day. Iused to collect these fish from a couple of local water courses near my homeand used them myself to feed my species in the shop and sold them very cheaplyto aquarists. Over the years I would have disposed of several thousands andthousands of this species and therein help to eradicate this species fromcertain waterways where they were prevalent. Mind you, it did not do too muchdamage to their populations, as they BRED far quicker than I could collectthem.
Tilapia species namely Oreochromis mossambicus, a maternal mouthbrooder iscurrently in plague proportions in Tinaroo Dam and elsewhere in Queenslandthat over time has allowed the introduced Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) andSooty Grunter (Hephaestus fuliginosus) species in this dam and elsewhere togrow to enormous lengths as they are being fed upon by these very aggressivenative predators. The same applies to the Murray Cod (Maccullochella peeli)that have began to proliferate in the Murray/Darling river system over thepast 20 or so years, simply because they are feeding upon the juvenile Carp(Cyprinus carpio), that are again in plague proportions in this river system,and elsewhere in Australian waterways.
Damian Burrows in his extensive scientific work “Translocated Fishes instreams of the Wet tropics Region”., indicated quite clearly that the bulk ofenvironmental introductions and damage being caused to the environment havecome about by stocking agencies, graziers, and landholders translocatingaggressive Native finfish into catchments where they have never existedbefore , eg, Jungle Perch (Kuhlia rupestris) into waters ABOVE waterfalls inthe Wet Tropics Region, that have caused considerable damage, which in turnhas obliterated many crustaceans, fish and frog species to become extinct orendangered in the wild.
The propogation of the Sleepy Cod (Oxyeleotris lineolatus) that grows to inexcess of 450/600mm and 3 kgs in weight that can live for up to 15 years,started the rot of introductions where currently it is considered to be thespecies most in favour of introductions to the wild. That has sent the nativePurple spotted Gudgeon, (Mogurnda adspersa) to extinction in the BurdekinRiver System in Queensland when it was deliberately liberated in 1980, andthis soon followed by numerous other areas being stocked, where it is causinghuge problems due to it’s expanding range.
Sleepy Cod (Oxyeleotris lineolatus) have also been introduced into ThomsonRiver from Windorah North of Longreach, and they will likely be in the BarcooRiver soon, and they got there by a property or fish farm owner, saysBiologist Dr Adam Kerezy. Biologists and Fisheries people cannot understandthe extension of this species range as they are not a terribly good fightingfish, as they are like catching a “Wet Paper Bag”.
Sleepy Cod (Oxyeleotris lineolatus) was “dumped” into the Burdekin River in1980 where the living fossil the Queensland Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri)are present, and as the Cod breeds quicker than the Lungfish and it’sfecundity being far more numerous, how long will it take before the Lungfishis relegated in numbers in this river system that they become “Endangered”.This will need to be followed up by Fisheries personnel to ensure that theLungfish does not become a “statistic” like that of Mogurnda adspersa, thepurple spotted Gudgeon, that the Sleepy Cod has eliminated in this same riversystem.
Already Queensland Fisheries in research and actually have introduced theSleepy Cod into Coopers Creek in South Australia. This highly successfulpredator was again another Government translocation outside its natural range,that will soon see it make its way into the huge Lake Eyre Basin. It wouldappear that Queensland Fisheries , has a lot to answer for in their stockingprograms all around Australia. Do Government instrumentalities ever learn fromtheir mistakes by introducing species willy nilly all over the Continent.I’ll let you answer that question!!
These same Government instrumentalities continually say that the AquariumIndustry and its members are irresponsible, but, when it comes to GovernmentInstrumentalities and their translocation and establishment of Native or Non-Native finfish, these same organisations are far more irresponsible than anyother organisation on this planet, and that includes our Aquarium Industry!
Continued next week
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