Determined Angler Talks about Pest-Fishing Despite “No Fishing” Signs at Spring Lake

Pest Fishing Spring Lake
Photo credit: Max Liversage via ‎SEQ Carp & Tilly Busters/Facebook

“Maybe now it might just inform people that we aren’t there to be taking dinner home; but in fact, getting rid of pest fish and cleaning our water for the better.” 

That was the response of Jesse Harrison, an angler from Redbank Plains, to passersby ridiculing him and saying that he was fishing illegally at Spring Lake. It appears that Spring Lake has been invaded by pest fishes like Tilapia and Carp. These fishes are considered noxious under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act 2014. Through his efforts, Mr Harrison believes he is making the lake a safe place to swim for native fishes.

Mr Harrison is just one member of the committed Facebook group SEQ Carp & Tilly Busters. With over 2,000 members, the group wants to get rid of pest fishes in the lakes of southeast Queensland. The downside, however, is that there are locals who aren’t aware of their environmental mission. Such locals often express contempt at the sight of anglers fishing along Ipswich lakes.

Locals against Illegal Fishing

pest fishing spring lake
Photo Credit: Featured image from http://queenslandplaces.com.au/springfield-and-springfield-lakes

Apparently, the contention of locals in Springfield Lakes is not without good reason. Reports on dead fish guts left behind by anglers have been an ongoing concern. Thus, people have been raising their voices to stop what they believe is “illegal fishing,” seeing as there are few “no fishing” signs in the area.

Luise Manning, a resident of the suburb, related how she had “seen a man and a boy” fishing along the privately-owned Spring Lake. She also expressed her distaste over how  there were traces of “dead fish guts left in Discovery Park.” She said she heard “a few weeks ago” that anglers just gut the fishes they caught then leave them dead right on the boardwalk. Mrs Manning believes that the fishes “keep the lake clean by purifying it” and, as such, they’re “not for fishing.”

Ipswich City Councillor David Morrison, upon reviewing the complaints received, reportedly committed to see if they have “any authority to stop people fishing at the lake.” As it is privately-owned, the area in concern does not belong to the Council yet.

After discussions with the council and the property’s regularity manager, Cr Morrison recently confirmed they are unable to enforce the signs in the area. He said, however, that the Council will be “considering whether certain parts should be opened for fishing.” He also committed to investigate for roles the Council could play to protect the lake “for the benefit of all users.”

The Pest-Fishing Struggle

pest fishing spring lake
Photo Credit: Featured image from http://www.mustdobrisbane.com/kids-outdoors-kids-parks/spring-lake-park-springfield-lakes

“When the lakes were first developed they were stocked with native breeds of fish and they didn’t want people fishing in it as no-one can guarantee the quality of the water or the quality of fish,” said Cr Morrison. As time went by, however, it became more and more apparent that pest fish have created a habitat in Spring Lake. Anglers in certain internet fishing forums claimed to have caught Tilapias in the lake.

Because of the constant sightings of pest fishes in the lake, locals have been divided in their opinions of people fishing on the lake. Some of them are convinced that it’s high time pest-fishing is brought to public attention. Others, on the other hand, are still adamant that the “no fishing” signs should not be ignored.

“The pest fish are eating all the native plants and destroying all the wildlife in the water,” said Mr Harrison. He explained how such pests make the water muddy. According to him, anglers like him are not there to “take the good stuff home” but that they merely want to “clean everything out.” He hopes people realise the good they want to do to the environment.

“I can understand why people get upset because there are native fish in the lake, but nine times out of ten the fishermen that do come down here release the native fish back into the water,” said Mr Harrison.

Responsible Fishing

pest fishing spring lake
Photo Credit: Mark Tarbert via ‎SEQ Carp & Tilly Busters/Facebook

As to the unsightly evidence of dead fish guts and material left by irresponsible anglers, Mr Harrison said it’s disgusting how a rude minority of people are ruining things for the majority who fish responsibly at the lake. He claimed how he always clean up and properly dispose the remains of his catch. Mr Harrison is aware that it’s against the law to return pest fish like Tilapia to the lake after being caught.

“What you’re supposed to do is kill them and either bag them and bin them before you leave or bury them above the high flood water so that other animals can’t get them,” he said. Mr Harrison also added that he thinks it’s “just wrong those people who don’t dispose of the fish properly and you can understand why it makes people angry.”

Mr Harrison, despite receiving verbal abuse from a few passersby, vowed to continue his cause of ridding Spring Lake of pest fishes. His determination was eventually supported by a growing number of locals who agree that “pest fish needed to go, especially in Spring Lake.” His group, SEQ Carp & Tilly Busters, are together with him in this worthwhile mission. For inquiries and information about joining their cause, you may check out their public Facebook account.

Click here for proper identification of pest fish.