Nov 132015
 

After a couple of storm related postponements last Summer Brisbane City Council is giving it another go!

If you missed out last year BCC will open Forest Lake to fishing for one day on Saturday, November 21 so that we can remove some feral fish and spread the message about how much of a threat they are to our waterways and native fish species. There's been a surprising amount of interest on facebook so we'd certainly appreciate any members who wanted to come along and help out. It's a unique opportunity for the club to engage with a lot of people we normally wouldn't get to meet. If you'd like to help with putting some of the gear together give Steve Baines a call on 0448890798. Continue reading »

Feb 102015
 

This meeting we'll have two guest speakers who have traveled the state in search of creatures that swim. Both presentations will be an excellent lead up to the Forest Lake Pest Fishing Day on February 21.

Glynn Aland will give us a talk about the feral fish that are invading our waterways. Glynn has worked in a variety of roles with Fisheries Queensland and Seqwater and has conducted fish surveys all around the state.

Glynn Aland at Weary Bay

Gavin Brown will present some turtles from around Australia and take us on a tour of all sorts of turtle habitat. Gavin is a member of Australian Freshwater Turtles (AFT - a non-profit organisation) and has a wealth of experience with keeping turtles and observing them in the wild.

Rare Fraser Island Broad-shelled Turtle, from one of Gavin's expeditions.

The drinks stand and the shop will be open for books and aquarium supplies, and there'll be an auction where members can sell fish, plants, and other aquarium related items. Guests are welcome to come and have a look, you can join up on the night if you're interested.

ANGFA Qld Meetings are held on the second Friday of every other month (even numbers) at the Bar Jai Community Hall, Clayfield, starting 7:30 pm.

Aug 232014
 

Original story by Charlotte King, ABC News

A small native fish with a low community profile is finally getting a name for itself in the Murray Darling Basin.
Koorlong Primary School students Ebony and Charlise were involved in some of the ideas that went into the book, aimed at increasing the profile of the Murray Hardyhead Photo: Charlotte King - ABC Local

Koorlong Primary School students Ebony and Charlise were involved in some of the ideas that went into the book, aimed at increasing the profile of the Murray Hardyhead Photo: Charlotte King - ABC Local

The Murray Hardyhead is a shiny, small-bodied fish with large silvery eyes.

"They only grow to about 10cm in size, and they were found locally and up and down the Murrumbidgee historically," says Michelle Kavanagh, the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre's communication advisor.

"But they've become much more rare, to the point where they've been threatened with extinction."

The fish prefer to live around the edges of lakes, in wetlands and backwaters; but recently the Murray Hardyhead has had a tough time staying alive.

As wetlands dried up with the millennium drought and salinity in remaining waters increased, whole populations of the fish have become extinct in much of Victoria and NSW.

"We got to the stage where they were only found in six or seven isolated wetlands - that was it," says Ms Kavanagh.

"There was a couple of handfuls of populations left in the basin."

Drawing in the community

As many of the remaining populations were in waterways around Mildura, including Cardross Lakes, Koorlong Lake and Lake Hawthorn, the MDFRC went about drawing those communities into a project to help conserve the fish.

The best way to do this, says Ms Kavanagh, was through the local primary schools.

"They're small schools in a rural environment, and these are small wetlands, or small fish in an isolated environment," she says.

"So we were able to make that connection, and start talking about the habitat the fish requires and what decisions and actions communities can make so that the fish has a chance."

Ms Kavanagh says that unlike the Murray Cod, the community profile of the Murray Hardyhead is pretty low.

"They're not iconic, they're not big and easy to identify; they're not targeted by anglers."

"[But] when you're involved in ecology their relevance in the food web becomes really obvious - they are fish food for bigger fish, and they also have close relationships with water plants and water bugs."

So she decided the best way to get the community interested was through the creation of a children's book:Hi! My name is Murray: Murray Hardyhead.

"We write these reports, we put the information on our website, and it's not particularly engaging for the general community," says Ms Kavanagh.

"Targeting primary schools we felt that through the students we'd be reaching families as well."

A real life example

The book was created over a term alongside school activities to help students understand conservation, native fish and threatened species in the Basin.

Students were asked to reflect on what they were learning by putting together artwork that ultimately inspired the book's design and text.

The principal at Koorlong Primary School, Stuart Pain, says the students embraced the project.

"We thought we'd make it a whole-school activity and went down and did some fish sampling and checked the quality of the water," he says.

"[Between] 80-90 per cent of the kids did not know they had Koorlong Lake out the back of the school - or they had fish in them."

"It was a real life example," says Mr Pain.

He says next week the school will revisit the Koorlong Lake to check on their efforts to repopulate the area with Murray Hardyhead fishlings.

"So hopefully, they've survived," says Mr Pain.

Twelve-year-old Ebony Douglass says even though the Murray Hardyhead is a little fish, it deserves to be conserved.

"It was a big project for just a small little fish," she says.

"[But] anything that's endangered is important to help keep alive."

The book has now been distributed to other schools where the Murray Hardyhead lives and across selected primary schools and libraries around Australia.

Jul 092014
 

Original story by Peter Kyne, Charles Darwin University at The Conversation

Sawfish are the most endangered group of marine fish in the world, largely thanks to overfishing and habitat loss. Formerly abundant, they have disappeared from many countries' waters, and in many others they are scarcely holding on.
The world’s five species of sawfish are the most threatened fishes in the world. Photo: David Wackenfelt

The world’s five species of sawfish are the most threatened fishes in the world. Photo: David Wackenfelt

To put it bluntly, sawfish have been devastated. But we could reverse the trend. Recently the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Shark Specialist Group released the first Global Sawfish Conservation Strategy. It won’t be easy, but they are steps we need to take if we are to save the world’s threatened sawfish. Continue reading »

Jul 082014
 

Original story by Selina Bryan, ABC News

Scientists at the Tamar Island Wetlands near Launceston are about to wage genetic warfare on a small pest that is causing a lot of trouble.

The mosquito fish, or gambusia, was introduced to Australia more than 100 years ago to fight malaria and was released in the Tamar in the 1990s.

Because the gambusia thrive in calm shallow water and feed off insect larvae, they seemed to be the ideal mosquito control agent.

But being fast breeders and voracious eaters, the mosquito fish, like the cane toads of the mainland, have become the problem.

Now the University of Tasmania is leading a national campaign to eradicate the fish with the support of a $476,000 grant. Continue reading »

Jul 062014
 

Original story at ABC Tropical North

A north Queensland community is trialing the use of barramundi to eradicate a pest fish from public waterways.
Volunteers release barramundi into the Gooseponds in Mackay to help reduce the number of tilapia, a South African fish that is harmful to native species. Photo: Kim Kleidon, ABC Local

Volunteers release barramundi into the Gooseponds in Mackay to help reduce the number of tilapia, a South African fish that is harmful to native species. Photo: Kim Kleidon, ABC Local

The South African tilapia has been introduced into the Mackay Gooseponds and experts fear they could take over and threaten native species.

Reef Catchments aquatic habitats coordinator Tim Marsden says the species was first identified in far north Queensland in the 1970s.

"There's no natural predators to tilapia here in Australia, they can survive in hot water, cold water, low dissolved oxygen, really poor water... and so that means whenever we've got any conditions, for example an urban waterway where you might have less than ideal conditions, tilapia will end up dominating that waterway," he said.

He says while tilapia are very difficult to eradicate, he hopes the use of 1,000 barramundi will help reduce the number of fish in the pond.

"We're putting up a biological control option as a trial to see if we can do something," said Mr Marsden. Continue reading »

Jun 072014
 

Original story by Damien Larkins and Russell Varley, ABC Gold Coast

Racehorse trainers and conservationists are angry at plans to fill in a wetland area near the Gold Coast Turf Club.
The wetland is home to a nesting black swan and dozens of other bird species. Photo: Damien Larkins

The wetland is home to a nesting black swan and dozens of other bird species. Photo: Damien Larkins

Trainers received an email on Thursday afternoon that work was going to start the next morning, as preparations continue for the Gold Coast Show to move to the Turf Club.

The email says the 2.75 hectare swamp area will be used for parking at the show and large race days but otherwise will be free for trainers to walk their horses the rest of the time. Continue reading »

Jun 052014
 
The platypus is vulnerable to opera house traps set to catch crayfish.

The platypus is vulnerable to opera house traps set to catch crayfish.

Original story at Wildlife Extra

The Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) has been carrying out trials on a new design of a type of crayfish trap called an opera house trap. Opera house traps are widely sold in Australia to deploy in rivers to catch crayfish for eating. Unfortunately, these same rivers are populated by air-breathing platypus that cannot escape from the traps once they have entered them and so drown. The new design is fitted with a circular escape hatch in the roof, through which platypus can find their way back out. The research, funded by the Taronga Conservation Society, involved 34 adults and 24 juvenile platypus to establish how easily the animals found the escape holes.

Of the four animals tested during daylight hours, all escaped within one minute of being introduced to a trap. At night, 63 per cent of tested animals managed to find their own way out within one minute and 19 per cent in 1-2 minutes. All exited via the escape hatch in the roof. Given that a platypus can hold its breath for approximately two and a half minutes when active, these findings suggest that a large proportion of wild platypus are likely to escape from a modified trap before they drown. Continue reading »

Jun 042014
 

Original story by David Adamson and Adam James Loch, University of South Australia at The Conversation

The federal government’s approach for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has shifted again, and now favours water-saving infrastructure over purchasing water rights. But is it the right move?
Spending on water-saving infrastructure could expose Murray-Darling farmers to debt and drought. Photo: Michelle Bartsch/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Spending on water-saving infrastructure could expose Murray-Darling farmers to debt and drought. Photo: Michelle Bartsch/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

The new scheme proposes to cut the amount of water bought back from farmers by 200 billion litres — from 1,500 billion litres down to 1,300 billion litres. Continue reading »