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Current status of the fishes in freshwaters of the Canning River, Western Australia. A Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University, report to the Department of Parks and Wildlife

Morgan, D.L. and Beatty, S.J. (2015) Current status of the fishes in freshwaters of the Canning River, Western Australia. A Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University, report to the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University

Abstract

The current study aimed to collate existing information on the fishes of the Canning River. The Canning River hosts a number of native freshwater, estuarine and marine fishes, but, at least 14 non‐native fishes have been released in the catchment, of which 12 are known to be self‐sustaining. As native fishes may migrate as part of their life‐cycle, understanding the location and characteristics of artificial instream structures and refuge pools downstream of Canning Dam is crucial in assessing and prioritising their impact. The ability of native fishes to migrate within the Canning River would be impacted by at least eight documented impediments between the Kent Street Weir and Canning Dam, as well as a number of large reservoirs. Along with mapping the barriers and refuge pools, additional research is required to determine the movement patterns of freshwater fishes in the system in relation to any major natural and artificial barriers present. A mark‐recapture study involving common native species is required that marks fish in refuge pools in the river and then determines the degree of mixing of the population by conducting a series of recapture events. This would determine whether movement upstream or downstream past barriers is occurring and also provide estimates of the population sizes of these species so that changes in their abundances can be monitored over time (i.e., by comparing the actual abundances from the mark‐recapture to the CPUE in standardised fyke‐netting). Many of the alien fishes present are only recent additions to the aquatic fauna of the river and the impact of these alien fishes is relatively unknown for this system. Any assessment should therefore also consider whether these barriers are halting the upstream spread of alien fishes. Combined with hydrological and spatial data on the barriers in the system, this research should enable a sound understanding of their relative impact on resident fishes and enable a robust barrier prioritisation process to be conducted.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit
Publisher: Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36489
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