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Key biological information for the management of Black Bream in the Vasse-Wonnerup

Cottingham, A., Tweedley, J.R., Green, A.T., Green, T.A., Beatty, S.J. and Potter, I.C. (2015) Key biological information for the management of Black Bream in the Vasse-Wonnerup. Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University

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The Vasse-Wonnerup is a shallow intermittently-open system located near the town of Busselton, Western Australia and is listed under the Ramsar Convention. Despite its ecological importance, the Vasse-Wonnerup is highly modified and suffers from excess nutrients, low oxygen levels, which can lead to fish kills. A major component of the fish that die during these kills is the iconic recreational species Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri). Because Black Bream are a solely estuarine species, i.e. individuals complete their life cycle within the estuary and do not leave, depleted populations of this species cannot be replenished from stocks in the marine environment or from other estuaries.

Results from previous studies in the Vasse-Wonnerup demonstrated that, following a major fish kill in April 2013 there was no evidence of recruitment (an increase in juveniles following the birth of new fish) of Black Bream from that year. It was not known, however, whether this was due to the environment at the time of spawning not being conducive for survival or to a lack of sufficient numbers of brood stock (sexually mature fish) and thus whether recruitment would continue to fail in the future. It also became apparent that the good, thorough information required for management of this fish in the Vasse-Wonnerup was lacking. There was thus an urgent need to acquire information on the key biological characteristics of Black Bream and assess the health of this stock in the Vasse-Wonnerup.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University
Notes: November 2015
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