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 »

Oct 062014
 

Original story at PSNews online

A 2,000 kilometre project to help native fish species travel up the River Murray is to take out man-made obstacles along the river system.
Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

The $70 million Sea to Hume fishway program near Waikerie in South Australia's Riverland includes 17 fishways designed to help native fish species navigate major weirs and barrages.

The Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter said the new fishways would help to increase the population and distribution of more than 25 species of native fish such as Murray cod and golden perch.

"While locks, weirs and barrages play an important role, mainly in the navigation of boats through different sections of the river, they restrict the natural movement of some native fish," Mr Hunter said. Continue reading »

Aug 292014
 

Original story by Renee Cluff, ABC News

A species of turtle native to the tip of Queensland's Cape York, the Jardine River turtle, has been officially sighted for the first time in 25 years.
Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

It was thought the turtle may have been extinct, even though Indigenous locals had unofficially reported some sightings.

But Apudthama rangers and scientists from Origin Energy have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989.

Peta Standley from the Cape York Natural Resource Management Board said the turtles were found this week in two locations.

"They're a range of sizes and a range of sexes as well, so now the next thing is trying to get some tracking devices on them and work out where they're actually going to, because they think they're nesting at the moment," she said.

Indigenous head ranger Warren Strevens, who was involved in the rediscovery of the rare turtles in the region, said the reptiles were also known as painted turtles.

"They're striking to look at," he said.

"They're a slender turtle, on the side of their heads, especially around the cheek area they've got a bright yellow stripe.

"Then as you go under the throat and down the neck, they've got a red stripe there, and all over their chest plate is a crimson red that's almost fluorescent.

"There's no doubt they're a cute animal."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

Aug 192014
 

Original story at ABC News

The critically endangered western trout minnow has been bred in captivity for the first time, in a program that is hoped will help shore up the population.

The western trout minnow was the first freshwater fish species in Australia to be listed as critically endangered. Photo: Department of Fisheries WA

The western trout minnow was the first freshwater fish species in Australia to be listed as critically endangered. Photo: Department of Fisheries WA

The western trout minnow is so rare it is only found in three small rivers in WA's Great Southern region.

It was the first freshwater fish species in Australia to be listed as critically endangered.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and the Department of Fisheries have managed to breed the fish in a laboratory, and hope to restock the rivers in a couple of years.

Principal research scientist Dr Craig Lawrence said there is also a team examining the reasons why the fish are becoming extinct.

"They are specifically looking at the reasons why several rare species in WA have got very low numbers in the wild," he said.

"Once those factors are identified, we will put together a strategy to address them and it's only then that we would look at restocking."

Dr Craig Lawrence has bred the rare minnow in captivity for the first time. Photo: ABC News/Anna Vidot

Dr Craig Lawrence has bred the rare minnow in captivity for the first time. Photo: ABC News/Anna Vidot

In 2006 it was estimated that between 2,000 and 5,000 minnows remained in the wild.

Dr Lawrence said researchers had to break new ground in figuring out how to breed the fish.

"We had to work out how to keep them, feed them, breed them, incubate the eggs, raise the embryos, hatch the larva out, and rear them up to fry," he said.

"They need specific cues to breed. They need the right flow rate, the right temperature, the right barometric pressure."

He said weirs and dams on water bodies changed the way the rivers flow, which affected the fish's breeding in the wild.

In one case, researchers built a "fish ladder" to help the animals get around the barriers, and this may need to be installed in other areas too, Dr Lawrence said.

Western trout minnow embryos. Photo: Department of Fisheries WA

Western trout minnow embryos. Photo: Department of Fisheries WA

The fish's size was also a factor in breeding it in captivity, he said.

"When we're talking about these fish, we're scaling everything down to 1:1000 of what we would usually use," he said.

"The accuracy of the injections and anaesthesia we use have to be very rigorous and there's very little room for error.

"No-one else has used these techniques before for a fish of this size."

The research has been carried out over five years, but the fish only breed four weeks out of the year, Dr Lawrence said.

Jul 172014
 

Original story by Jake Sturmer, ABC News

A world-first study has found that dredging can more than double the level of coral disease in reefs.
Joe Pollock researches the impact of dredging on coral. He says his study on the impacts of dredging highlights the pressure reefs face. Photo: Ed Roberts

Joe Pollock researches the impact of dredging on coral. He says his study on the impacts of dredging highlights the pressure reefs face. Photo: Ed Roberts

Scientists have known for decades that dredging can smother corals, but researchers say this is the first time it has been linked to diseases.

With dredging approved in the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the scientists hope their work draws attention to the pressing issues facing the region.

The study by the Australian Research Council's Coral Reef Studies Centre of Excellence looked at the 7 million cubic metres of dredging done for Chevron's Gorgon Gas Project off Western Australia's coast.

"There was a fair bit of dredging going there and this was an ideal opportunity to use this natural experiment to look at the impacts of dredging, sediment and turbidity on coral health," lead author Joe Pollock said.

"What we've found is that you get two times as much coral disease near the dredge sites as you do at nearby control sites."

Not all diseases are fatal but Mr Pollock said they can have a significant impact on reef health. Continue reading »

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 »

Jun 132014
 

orginal story by Russell Varley, ABC News

A marine researcher on Queensland's Gold Coast says conditions for dugongs in Moreton Bay have improved after the environment was badly affected by Brisbane's 2011 floods.

A dugong feeding on seagrass in Moreton Bay.

A dugong feeding on seagrass in Moreton Bay.

Sea World on the Gold Coast, the University of Queensland, and the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium are checking dugong health in a project that started seven years ago.

Up to 20 dugongs will be captured to carry out the health assessment, with Sea World welcoming a federal grant of $250,000 for whale and dolphin research. Continue reading »

Jun 092014
 

ABC NewsOriginal story at ABC News

The CSIRO has told a world aquaculture conference in Adelaide the industry already is facing challenges from climate change.
Barramundi - Rising water temperatures are a challenge for fish farming.

Barramundi - Rising water temperatures are a challenge for fish farming.

The fast-growing industry generates more than $1 billion annually for the Australian economy and CSIRO research scientist Alistair Hobday says aquaculture operators have been making a strong impression in the international marketplace.

"I think aquaculture operators in Australia are very sophisticated, they grow high-value products that go to international markets as well as our domestic markets and I think they're well set up for coping with these changes," he said.

But Dr Hobday says aquaculture operators will need to find ways to adapt to rising temperatures.

"We've seen cases around Australia where warming waters that have been unusually warm have led to declines in salmon production, have led to declining oxygen in tuna pens," he said.

The CSIRO says temperatures have risen by one degree Celsius in the past century in Australia, but by more than two degrees in the south-east and south-west of the nation. Continue reading »