Unlawful catch of protected fish prompts Fisheries appeal

FISHERIES officers investigating the unlawful take of protected lungfish on the Brisbane River at Gregors Creek are seeking assistance from the public.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Brett Depper said a Toogoolawah resident found 12 dead lungfish at the Alf Williams Bridge on Gregors Creek Rd on Sunday.

"The lungfish, which are a protected no-take species in Queensland, seem to have been caught and discarded on the river bank," Mr Depper said.

"Based on the state of decomposition, the lungfish have probably been there for the past week.

"We are asking anyone with information to come forward, whether they have direct knowledge of the offending or if they saw people camping in the area and can give a description of vehicles.

"Members of the public can call the 24-hour, toll-free Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 and provide information anonymously if they wish."

Mr Depper said the maximum penalty for taking a protected fish under Queensland fisheries laws was $130,550.

"If a protected fish is caught, it must not be removed from the water and should be released immediately and not intentionally or recklessly injured, damaged or subjected to undue stress," he said.

The Australian lungfish is generally regarded as the most unique and interesting, due to its strange features, restricted distribution and evolutionary lineage.

This species is considered to be one of the few surviving links in the evolutionary chain between fishes and amphibians.

Australian lungfish are a protected, no-take species in Queensland and the species is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Australian lungfish can grow to 1.5m in length.

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