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10 September, 2021

Community Connect: Rods at the ready

GET the kids and the rods ready because this school holidays, the wildly popular Tilapia Tournament is on again.

A fun and competitive event to remove the invasive fish species from our waterways, this year’s Tilapia Tournament will be held at Warrina Lakes from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 September.

Cassowary Coast Regional Councillor and Environment portfolio holder Jeff Baines said that during the event, council will permit fishing in Warrina Lakes during competition hours, and will provide a measuring station for competitor catches to be captured.

“The week will culminate with the ‘Tilapia Tamer’ awards which will be presented on Sunday morning. Seven prizes are on offer for in age categories- children five years and under, 5-12 years, 12-18 years old and one overall grand prize.

“Sunday also offers a special ‘Tilapia Tackler” fishing event, which will see an award presented for the most fish caught between 8am to 10am, so even if you haven’t been able to participate during the week, you can come on down on Sunday for an opportunity to win a prize.

“Locally, the event has become legendary. In 2019, the half-day event removed 260 Tilapia, weighing 74kg from Warrina Lakes.

“In 2020, the week-long event saw nearly 2,000 Tilapia removed from Warrina Lakes. In total 527 kilos of Tilapia were removed from Warrina Lakes, which is an outstanding effort.

“I throw the challenge to the community to hit a new record, let’s see if we can catch 550 kilos!”

Councillor Baines said after the event the fish carcasses will be recycled into compost by the Johnstone River Community Gardens. I hear it is likened to Tilapia lasagne- not something I would recommend eating but great for the environment.

“The week will end on a high on Sunday 26 September, with fishing between 8am to 10am for a last chance fish to tip the scales in your favour. Presentations of the prizes will be at 10.30am.

“The fun doesn’t stop there- an Eco Fest will be held with stalls and a BBQ.

“The EcoFest will be held between 8am to 12pm and the BBQ heats up from 11am

“By spreading the event over a week, it offers a fun outdoor activity for the school holidays while doing a service to our environment in removing these pests from our lakes.

Councillor Baines said that Tilapia were difficult to eradicate from the region, but the tournament should go a long way towards reducing their numbers.

“The problem with Tilapia is they can successfully invade and dominate many water habitats due to their ability to reproduce fast and can survive in various conditions and have simple food needs, which impacts our native fish.”

Councillor Nick Pervan, President of the Innisfail Game Fishing Club said the group is happy to be involved again after the great success of previous events.

“Anything to help rid our waterways of this noxious fish.”

Not normally open for fishing, the Tilapia Tournament is designed reduce numbers of Tilapia within Warrina Lakes.

Admission and entry is free, and fishing must take place on the assigned days. Monday to Friday- fishing is permitted between 8am to 3pm. The last chance fishing on Sunday runs from 8am to 10am.

Competitors must pre-register online at  For further details contact council on 1300 763 903. Full terms and conditions can be found by visiting

The Tilapia Tournament is presented by Council in partnership with Ozfish, and sponsored by BCF Innisfail, Game Fishing Club Innisfail, River ‘n’ Reef, Soils First NQ, Coastal Marine & Outdoors, Manitto’s Auto Centre, Kurrimine Beach Fishing Club and Johnstone River Community Garden. Further sponsorship opportunities are available on request.


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