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Sooty grunter disposal


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Press release from DAFF:

Qld DPI&F Press release

11 June 2004

Sooty grunter threat to endangered Mary River cod and lungfish

A native north Queensland fish, the sooty grunter, has been captured near Kenilworth on the Mary River, raising fears local populations of endangered Mary River cod and Australian lungfish could be threatened.

Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries biologist Dr Michael Hutchinson said the presence of sooty grunter in the Mary River system was of concern.

He said that the capture of the large sooty grunter specimen followed recent reports of other sightings of the species by anglers fishing near Gympie and Tiaro.

“Sooty grunter are a north Queensland freshwater fish species and are not native to the Mary River,†Dr Hutchinson said.

“It is illegal to stock them both into the river and into farm dams in the catchment.

Dr Hutchison said sooty grunters were an aggressive predator and might compete with lungfish and Mary River cod for food, or even prey directly on juveniles of local species.

The Mary River is part of a recovery program for the endangered Mary River cod and Dr Hutchinson believes unwanted introductions such as this could threaten cod recovery.

“Sooty grunter prefer habitats which juvenile Mary River cod favour as a nursery habitat and lungfish favour for spawning,†he said.

“We don’t know if sooty grunter are able to breed in the Mary River. If they don’t and there are no subsequent illegal stockings of sooty grunter, then they will eventually disappear.

Dr Hutchinson said public waterways could not be stocked with any fish species without a permit.

People wishing to stock farm dams must comply with the freshwater fish translocation policy to prevent accidental escape of non-native species and non-local species into waterways.

Information on which fish species can be legally stocked into farm dams in the Mary River Valley and other areas can be found on the DPI&F Fishweb website at http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/1261.html

So if I catch undersize Sooties in the Mary should they be disposed of the same way we do carp, or do size limits still apply in the Mary?

Should this guy have been filling his white bucket?


They aren't like barra in regard to swimming south as they are a sweetwater fish.

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There you go note the paragraph on Sooties in the Mary.

Bit concerning the sudden population increase of late.

Cant be released if caught.

yellas silvers and Bass are also non indigenous natives in The Mary but can be stocked in dams. Euthenise every yella and silver I catch in the river and tributaries and Bass depending on location.

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This is where I usually stir Steve by saying we cant legally put Mary's back in when caught in the Stanley, Brisbane or Pine rivers systems and must dispose of them.

(One day I'll actually catch one) But regardless of the species, and the law, if its stocked in those waters, I'll put them back.

The questions about possession limits and ferals is always an interesting one, but for most native species, they are not mouth brooders (certainly none of the stocked ones), so killing them and dropping them back over the side does not involve a risk of returning viable young to the waterway.

Interestingly enough they do recognise that possession limits do not apply for some species when they are feral, eg red claw, there is no possession limit outside their natural range.

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Here is a link to thread on Sweetwater started by Jim Tait which gives an excellent summary of the reasons why this is very concerning and a good explanation of why there should not be sooties in the Mary.


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