Tuesday, October 20

Pest analysis: ‘Are we winning, losing or holding?’

THE status of the region’s fight against invaders in the soil, skies and waterways could be addressed in a regular report to Mackay Regional Council.

After Mackay was given the unofficial title of the pest fish capital of Australia, councillor Martin Bella called for a monthly update on pest control measures against all invasive species in Mackay.

“We need to know are we winning, losing, or holding,” he said at Wednesday’s council meeting.

He called for the strategy to contain or eradicate each invasive plant, animal, fish and insect to be detailed in the Community and Client Services Monthly Review.

“We have to recognise the problem,” Cr Bella said.

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His push for detailed pest control updates comes as a new invasive fish species, an oscar cichlid, was spotted in The Gooseponds.

Cr Bella said it was “disappointing” to hear the oscar was likely dumped in the pond by a resident.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the department would consider Cr Bella’s request for future reports.

Despite environmental groups and council actively trying to push the pest control message to the community, he said not everyone was listening.

Cr Bella said he was shocked to see an angler buy green prawns from the supermarket for fishing, which would put the native species at risk of white spot disease.

Harry Bruce's take on Mackay Regional Council's Martin Bella calling for an increase in proactive pest control measures.

Harry Bruce’s take on Mackay Regional Council’s Martin Bella calling for an increase in proactive pest control measures.

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Council pest management teams spent 300 hours to surveying and spraying of weeds across the region last month.

The latest Community and Client Services Monthly Review said council workers also spent 50 hours baiting for wild dogs and feral pigs last month, more than double than the baiting program in August last year.

But the report said vector control staff also sprayed 87ha of larvae territories, well below the 500ha of land sprayed last August.