New Australian frontier in freshwater fish invasion via Torres Strait Islands

Waltham, Nathan J., Snape, Natale, Villacorta-Rath, Cecilia, and Burrows, Damien (2023) New Australian frontier in freshwater fish invasion via Torres Strait Islands. Biodiversity and Conservation, 32. pp. 4551-4571.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


All continents, excluding Antarctica and the Artic, have been affected by incursion from alien freshwater fish species. Australia has not been spared. Four hundred and fifty species have now been declared on the ornamental importation list, making management a real challenge. With approximately 25 non-native species documented, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has likely some problems with invasive freshwater fish. Many of these species have been intentionally introduced to increase access to food as a protein source for remote communities or have spread naturally from western parts of Java and Indonesia, and now constitute a large biomass on some floodplain areas in PNG. The Torres Strait is located between PNG and northern Queensland and was previously a land bridge, though now under higher sea levels the region exists as a series of approximately 300 islands. The threat of further range extension of freshwater fish from PNG into northern Queensland via the Torres Strait Islands is significant, with two invasive fish species already recorded on northern islands of the Torres Strait (climbing perch, Anabas testudineus which has been continually recorded for the past decade; and recently the GIFT tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus). Here we present a case to control further spread of invasive freshwater fish species towards Australia, using a Land and Sea Ranger program, where Rangers are trained to be confident in the identification of pest fish species and to implement strategies to protect their borders from potential future incursions. The success of this program relies on Rangers to continue partaking in surveillance monitoring of coastal waters, checking and controlling for any new invasive species moving from PNG into Australian waters. We outline the biosecurity obligation under Article 14 of the Treaty between the two nations, which identifies the importance of conservation and protection of coastal floodplains from invasive species, and the spread between both nations.

Item ID: 80976
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9710
Keywords: Torres Straits; Channa striata; Anabas testudineus; Papua New Guinea; Community monitoring; Pest species
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Funders: Australian Government, Queensland Government, Torres Straits Regional Authority, Boigu, Saibai, Badu and Mabuiag TSIRC, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2023 06:23
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180204 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in coastal and estuarine environments @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1899 Other environmental management > 189999 Other environmental management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 54
Last 12 Months: 44
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page