Anglers are being urged to report sightings of the pest fish Oriental Weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) after reports of increased numbers within the Goulburn River around Seymour.
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Applied Aquatic Ecology Scientist Joanne Kearns said Oriental weatherloach was an extremely hardy and tolerant exotic fish that was often found in still or slow flowing waters.
“Oriental Weatherloach is native to Asia and was brought into Australia during the 1960s as a popular aquarium fish,” Ms Kearns said. “Unfortunately, this fish has since been established in the wild and is now listed as a noxious aquatic species in Victoria under the Fisheries Act 1995.”
“Key characteristics of this fish include a slender body often with a mottling appearance on the body and fins, a prominent black spot on the tail fin and five sets of barbels - whiskers - around the mouth. Their maximum length is about 25cm.”
The Oriental Weatherloach is not to be confused with the native Freshwater Catfish (Tandanus tandanus) which also has barbels around its mouth. Another difference is that the Freshwater Catfish has two dorsal fins rather than one.
Anglers are reminded that Oriental Weatherloach is a noxious species and therefore must not be brought into the state, nor taken, hatched, kept, possessed, sold, transported, put into any container or released into any Victorian waterway.
Ms Kearns said the Oriental Weatherloach could survive in even the harshest environmental conditions, and anglers were advised not to simply discard fish alive on the banks of waterways, but rather humanely dispose.
“Anglers are also encouraged to report Oriental Weatherloach sightings, and other native and exotic fish species, through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority iSpy Fish App.”
For information about the iSpy Fish app visit http://www.gbcma.vic.gov.au/ispy_catchment_creatures/ispy_fish