URGENT community assistance is needed to stop the spread of one of the world's most invasive fish, tilapia.
This pest fish has recently been found on the North Coast in the Bogangar Canal and Cudgen Lake, and there are fears it could be in other waterways.
The Department of Primary Industries' aquatic biosecurity strategy leader, Melissa Walker, said the fish were prolific breeders.
"Mothers produce up to 1200 eggs a year and protect their young in their mouths for up to 14 days," she said.
- Pale olive to silver-grey coloured bodies
- Long, continuous dorsal fin
- Grows to more than 36cm
- Can live up to 13 years
- Impact on native fish numbers by competing for habitat and food, behaving aggressively, and disturbing aquatic vegetation
- Could potentially introduce disease and parasites
"Once established in a flowing river or creek, these fish are almost impossible to eradicate so it is important to stop the spread of tilapia now before it's too late.
"If people catch or find a tilapia, it is vital that the fish is not returned to the water.
"Our advice to anyone who catches or finds tilapia is to humanely destroy and dispose of it appropriately.
"In any case of uncertainty about identification, we recommend taking a good quality photo then calling the Aquatic Pest Hotline immediately for confirmation."