Jun 022014
 

Original story by Thomas Carannante, ScienceWorld Report

The presence of the invasive lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida has prompted the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to take action. They've developed an app to control the nonstop growth of the lionfish population.
The presence of the invasive lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida has prompted the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to take action. They’ve developed an app to control the nonstop growth of the lionfish population. Photo : NOAA's National Ocean Service

The presence of the invasive lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida has prompted the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to take action. They’ve developed an app to control the nonstop growth of the lionfish population. Photo : NOAA's National Ocean Service

The lionfish possesses up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins that can deliver venom. It's naturally defensive, and utilizes its camouflage and fast reflexes to capture prey. They can even harm humans and cause nausea and breathing difficulties with their venomous sting. The lionfish is native to reefs and rocky crevices, and they've made their way to Florida's Atlantic coast 25 years ago. Continue reading »

Jun 022014
 

If you didn't make it along to the BCC Pest Fish Education Event you missed a fantastic morning out. The water might have been too cool for the Tilapia to bite but there were lots of other fish being reeled in. We were all impressed with the variety of native fish in the lake despite invasions from African Tilapia, American Gambusia and North Queensland Barred Grunter. There might have been a few fish that went back without being tallied but we did our best to count everything that came in - checkout the stats below. The barbless hooks provided by BCC ensured fish were able to be returned to the water in good condition. I still haven't found out who managed to land gambusia while line-fishing...

BCC Pest Fishing Day at Forest Lake. Photo: Leo Lee

BCC Pest Fishing Day at Forest Lake. Photo: Leo Lee

Continue reading »

May 252014
 

Original story by , The Chronicle

Gladstone Harbour. Photo: David Sparkes

Gladstone Harbour. Photo: David Sparkes

DISEASED fish are again being pulled from the waters of Gladstone Harbour, almost two and a half years after the harbour was closed amid a contamination scare.

But while one fisherman has pulled in a load of fish he believed was diseased, wholesalers and authorities in the region have not reported a wider trend to date.

A disease outbreak in 2011 coincided with a major dredging project underway by Gladstone Ports Corporation, the first stage of which was completed last year.

That controversial project is currently the subject of a class action in Brisbane courts, with numerous Gladstone fishers and crabbers seeking compensation for lost grounds. Continue reading »

May 232014
 

Original story by Andrew Olds, Griffith University; David Rissik, Griffith University; Kylie Pitt, Griffith University; Paul Maxwell, Griffith University; Rod Connolly, Griffith University, and Russ Babcock, CSIRO at The Conversation

Marine reserves are a hot topic in Australia, with federal and state governments debating whether to allow recreational fishers to take fish from within their boundaries. But new research demonstrates that reserves can have a real benefit for marine ecosystems — by protecting coral reefs from floods.
Floodwater plumes, like this one in Moreton Bay, do less damage to reefs that are in marine reserves. Photo: Healthy Waterways

Floodwater plumes, like this one in Moreton Bay, do less damage to reefs that are in marine reserves. Photo: Healthy Waterways

We enjoy fishing; but we also appreciate that marine reserves have many positives. Yes, they restrict fishing in certain areas, but they have been shown to increase the numbers of catchable fish outside reserves.

Our study shows that reserves can also improve the resilience of the habitats that fish rely on. Without them, there would be fewer fish for everyone. Continue reading »

May 222014
 

Original story by Judith Kerr, Bayside Bulletin

MUD, mossies and the threat of rain did not deter a band of nature lovers taking to Tingalpa Creek for a day inspecting life in the mangroves.
Healthy Waterways connect to your creek week-  Tim Roe from the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre skippers a boat full of people along Tingalpa Creek, Thorneside. Photo: Chris McCormack

Healthy Waterways connect to your creek week- Tim Roe from the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre skippers a boat full of people along Tingalpa Creek, Thorneside. Photo: Chris McCormack

Wildlife Preservation Society organised the information tour as part of Connect to Your Creek Week, which started on Monday, May 19. Continue reading »

May 212014
 

Original story by Dr Ben Diggles at Fishing World

ONE of the scourges of our tropical freshwater rivers, the Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus, also known as the Mozambique mouth-brooder) was introduced into Australia in the 1960s as an ornamental fish.

Tilapia signage from Fisheries Qld.After being released into the wild (eventually most types of ornamental fish get released at some stage), O. mossambicus and two other species of closely related cichlids (the black mangrove cichlid Tilapia mariae and the redbelly tilapia (Tilapia zilii) have survived and established populations which have since spread into many new places, such that today they dominate many of Queenslands waterways.

These species have been listed in the top 100 of the world’s worst introduced species and they are regarded as one of the greatest threats to Australia’s native biodiversity, because they have several adaptations that combine to enable them to overwhelm native fish populations.

Firstly, tilapia females carry their eggs and larvae inside their mouths, providing protection which virtually ensures the survival of the next generation. They are also a particularly hardy fish, tolerant of poor water quality, pollution, low oxygen levels (which they tolerate by gulping air at the water surface) and a wide range of water temperatures (8- 42 °C). They can also survive in brackish water, which allows them to move between river systems after river flow events, and have rather flexible dietary requirements. When their favoured algae, animal waste and planktonic food items are scarce, they can readily adapt to alternative food sources, ranging from completely herbivorous to totally carnivorous (including cannibalism). Continue reading »

May 202014
 

Original story by Ian Rutherfurd, University of Melbourne and Andrew Campbell, Charles Darwin University at The Conversation

Among the environmental fallout of the federal budget, Australia’s Landcare program has taken a hit, losing A$484 million. In return, the government’s environmental centrepiece, the Green Army, receives A$525 million.
Australia already has a world-leading system for managing the environment - why are we dumbing it down? Photo: Andrew Campbell

Australia already has a world-leading system for managing the environment - why are we dumbing it down? Photo: Andrew Campbell

But switching money from Landcare to the Green Army is trading down for a less effective conservation model. It also repeats a pattern of reduced funding and weakened delivery started under former Prime Minister John Howard, and confuses improved agricultural productivity with improved environmental management. Continue reading »

May 192014
 

Original story by Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University and Kerstin Zander, Charles Darwin University at The Conversation

Big Ritchie looks up from his pile of bananas, unperturbed by the flock of tourists taking his photo. Sprawled around him, mother orangutans* and their fluffy orange babies groom affectionately, chase each other, hang upside down, or wander off and vanish into the nearby forest canopy.
new research shows seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild. Photo: CC BY-SA

new research shows seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild. Photo: CC BY-SA

Fewer than 2,000 orangutans are left living in the wild in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, with nearly all truly wild ones confined to a remote site on the Indonesian border. It’s why thousands of tourists and local Sarawak people come to places like this – the popular Semenggoh Nature Reserve – to see orangutans semi-wild in a reserve or captive in a rehabilitation centre. Continue reading »

May 072014
 

Where: Forest Lake Boulevard Park

Date: Sunday 25 May 2014

Time: From 9am - 12pm

Cost: Free

Learn how to identify pest fish species and the impact they pose on our native fish and aquatic habitat. During the event, residents will able to fish for Tilapia, a hardy fish whose effective breeding habits can lead to it overrunning native species, other noxious fish such as carp, and ornamental fish commonly kept in home aquariums such as goldfish. To take part in the fishing activity, residents are asked to sign up at the registration marquee near the Stage area at the parklands where they will be directed to one of the designated fishing sites around the lake.

There will also be a free sausage sizzle.

Participants will be required to bring along their own fishing rod and line. Barb-free hooks will be provided to reduce the impact on native bycatch that will be returned to the water. Bait will be available on site.

As this is an outdoors event, participants should also bring water, sun smart clothing, hat, sunscreen and enclosed shoes. All children, under the age of 18, must be accompanied by an adult.

Note: Fishing in Forest Lake is normally prohibited, however Council has approval to oversee this one off event to raise awareness for and manage this pest species.

Mozambique tilapia/mouthbrooder,Oreochromis mossambicus. Image: DAFF

Mozambique tilapia/mouthbrooder,Oreochromis mossambicus. Image: DAFF

More information about pest fish is available from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

May 022014
 

Wildlife Preservation Society of QueenslandOriginal story by Peter Ogilvie, Wildlife Queensland

The assault on nature conservation in Queensland

Why has the Newman Government chosen to comprehensively neutralise nature conservation and its associated legislation in Queensland, particularly in relation to national parks?

There doesn’t appear to be any political imperative, as is the case in NSW where a party with the balance of power in the Upper House is demanding hunting access to national parks. The Liberal National Party (LNP) government in Queensland has had complete and unassailable control of the uni-cameral parliament since it reduced the Labor opposition to seven members following the March 2012 election. Neither can it be explained purely as a matter of ideology. Coalition governments in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia have been responsible for some significant advances in nature conservation. After all, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was enacted by a Coalition government in Canberra, as was the latest strongly protective zoning plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There has been the suggestion that the government is undoing what was created by former Goss, Beattie and Bligh Labor governments. However, several matters that have been neutralised are actually products of earlier Coalition governments. Which leaves one other possible explanation, perverse though it may be, that they are doing it simply because they can.

Kondalilla falls, Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Photo: Damien Dempsey/Wikimedia Commons

Kondalilla falls, Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Photo: Damien Dempsey/Wikimedia Commons

Nevertheless, what they have done needs to be clearly documented so this government can be held to account, perhaps sadly not in its lifetime, but by future generations that will want to know where the blame lies.

The Banishment of National Parks

Continue reading »