This year marks the 150th anniversary since the introduction of trout to Tasmania. The event has been widely celebrated by the local recreational fishing and tourism sector - but not all residents agree. It's probably a good time to examine the practice of fish stocking and its impact on our waterways.
Abroad, controversy reigns as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife this month began netting trout from a wilderness lake. The fish removal was ordered to protect the habitat of a native endangered species. The plan has angered many who say the action puts an endangered species ahead of the recreational interests of humans. This action has prompted discussions of what should be considered a native species, as well as instilling fear about which locations could be impacted next.
The hunter loves the fact that there are fat beasts lurking in deep holes of clear meandering streams just waiting to be lured out, outsmarted and snagged as a trophy. But, ecological scientists tell us the days of introducing/restocking ferocious predators (whether they be trout, bass or mulloway) back into waterways probably needs more thought; particularly, if we expect the diversity of fish species and the habitat of our waterways to be in a healthy state.
Introducing fish to Australian waterways is not necessarily bad for the environment, but it might be time for a review. We strongly believe that rehabilitation of fish habitat should be prioritised ahead of stocking. Fish without a home will seek another’s home.
So, are we aiming to return our waterways to the “ideals of yesteryear”?
Glush Weed (Hygrophila costata) Control in the Russell River – funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Programme
Jaragun NRM engaged TropWater (JCU) to assess the impact of Glush Weed (GW) on water quality, as part of on-ground project monitoring. The methodology involves assessment of aquatic ecosystem health through comparison of GW sites with natural habitat (e.g. remnant vegetated river bank edges).
TropWater’s report details the following findings, as summarised below.
GW has the potential to accumulate large amounts of nutrients
Macroinvertebrate communities between GW and natural habitat was not as pronounced as expected
GW growth discourages light penetration leading to lower oxygen levels
GW provides a food source and harbourage for juvenile Tilapia. Adult Tilapia then go on to eat native species
For more information see: Liz Owen [firstname.lastname@example.org]
2015 Recreational Fishing Conference
Brad and Simon attended the 2015 Recreational Fishing Conference held on the Gold Coast this July. There was information on some interesting innovations in fishing tackle, great fish habitat project stories and data around emerging trends through the generations to make you think. Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck opened the conference and participated throughout the day in many a conversation. Matt Hansen and the crew from the Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association took out the Habitat Hero award for their unique work in Macquarie RiverWatch image: National Recreational Fishing Conference
Marine habitat repair and restoration symposium
The Australian Marine Science Association's (AMSA) conference this year focused on marine habitat repair and restoration. Around 29% of Australian estuaries are considered ‘extensively modified’ or ‘modified’ – targeted restoration efforts could significantly boost coastal biodiversity, enhance water quality and increase fisheries productivity.
OceanWatch participated in the discussion and it was eye-opening to hear about the science that underpins restoration efforts. A lot of scientific research into marine habitat repair and restoration is being undertaken in apparent isolation to the Natural Resource Management (NRM) sector. For maximum environmental benefit it is fundamental that there is improved collaboration across projects and sharing of ideas.
Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisations may have the resources to apply and scale-up successful trials, and can certainly play in role in disseminating information to the broader community.
If you’re involved in a marine habitat repair or restoration project and would like us to feature it in our national marine NRM newsletter, please get in touch via email@example.com
Approximately 700 NSW Public School students attended an activity filled day hosted by the Royal Agriculture Society of NSW and held at Sydney Olympic Park. AgVision was aimed at ‘Cultivating Careers in Agriculture’. There were 50 workshops being held throughout the day, and 250 half hour presentations to engage students.
OceanWatch Chair Brad Warren described his background as a professional fisherman in the NSW Prawn Trawl, Estuary General and Rock Lobster Fisheries, and his work as Chair of OceanWatch.
Our workshops titled "Working on Water" were different to the majority of presentations and Brad used various props, including a commercial eastern rock lobster pot and model prawn trawler to demonstrate the day to day activities of a professional fisherman, just one of the career opportunities available in the seafood industry.
Whilst most Commonwealth fishers do the right thing there are some that don’t and rob the Australian community of valuable resources threatening the sustainability of our fisheries. To help raise awareness of the consequences of illegal fishing, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has released a video featuring ‘Fisherman Jack’. The video can be found at afma.gov.au image: AFMA
Perth beach world’s first to use alarm to alert swimmers of sharks Next week, a beach in Perth’s northern suburbs will become the first in the world to use a beach alarm to alert swimmers to the presence of sharks. Mullaloo beach will use buoys in the ocean to detect tagged sharks and alert swimmers and surfers via the beach. Even though funding for more tagging has been stopped the existing shark tags last ten years and will continue to be part of the strategy to reduce attacks. image: R Swainston animal.net.au
Coorong, lakes fishers’ fate sealed Coorong fishers have an urgent plea for the State Government: take immediate action on long nosed fur seals or provide financial assistance to help fishermen exit the industry SA’s oyster industry strengthens its credentials The State Government is supporting the development of a new third party certification that will showcase the premium credentials of South Australia’s oyster industry
Become a Fishcare Volunteer
They’re the unsung heroes on the recreational fishing scene. They’re Fishcare Volunteers and they’re a familiar site along South Australia’s jetties, beaches, rivers and at important community events. View the film at