Fishing for Facts – the Daly River Fish Monitoring program

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Fishing for Facts – the Daly River Fish Monitoring program

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The Daly River fish monitoring program has just turned 12 years old!

In June, the field team (Assoc Prof Alison King, Mr Dion Wedd, Mr Brendan Adair, Dr Krystle Keller, Mr Brien Roberts, Mr David Loweinsteiner (CDU), Mr Wayne Baldwin, Mr Nathan Croft (NT Fisheries), Mr Michael Hammer (NT Museum)) undertook its 23rd field trip, sampling freshwater fish throughout the beautiful Daly River catchment. The fishing was great, with lots of young-of-year barramundi, fork tailed catfish and mullet at all sites.

The program is a collaborative venture between the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (led by Assoc Prof Alison King, and greatly assisted by Mr Dion Wedd), NT Department of Primary Industries and Resources (Fisheries), NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Water Resources), University of Western Australia, Griffith University, and the Traditional Owners of the region.

Sampling involves electrofishing, where an electric field is applied to temporarily stun fish – at eight sites along the River, from Katherine to the lower freshwater reaches. The regular monitoring program has collected over 50 species over the 12 years, and is aimed at collecting information about how the fish community is changing through time, for example with hydrological and other environmental patterns, increasing development and etc.

We are currently in the process of analysing a lot of the data from this program, as part of the NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub project on “Environmental water needs for the Daly river”. Some of the results of this work will also be presented at the Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference, in Albany 21-25th July 2017.

Our next big fishing adventure is a 4 week field work trip in August, where we will be sampling for our Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage project “Forecasting fish resilience to environmental change in northern Australia”. More updates on that project to come!

Freshwater sole (Leptochirus triramus) June 2017

Freshwater sole (Leptochirus triramus) June 2017

 

Daly River, Downstream of Jeeboom crossing. June 2017

 

Galopping Jacks, Katherine River. June 2017

Galopping Jacks, Katherine River. June 2017

 

Mullet, Planiliza ordensis. June 2017.

Mullet, Planiliza ordensis. June 2017.