Using science to sustain and maintain healthy fish stocks in WA
Some important West Australian fish species are in trouble as a result of a range of multiple environmental and man-made issues. Sadly many south west rivers and estuaries no longer provide suitable habitats for some native fish species and this was the driver for the establishment of the WA Fish Foundation in 2004. Decades of poor water management and climate change have reduced both water quality and flows. . . . . with devastating impacts. Now even the normally resilient black bream are under threat in some rivers and the opportunities for species that historically use estuaries, during part of their life cycle, are in decline.
Poor fishing practices, marine development and environmental changes have also adversely impacted on many prized West Australian oceanic species, particularly in our southern temperate waters. The stocks of some of these more vulnerable species impacted by poor inshore water quality and pollution are now below desirable stock levels.
Changing Sea Surface Temperatures associated with heat wave events are also beginning to impact with extensive mortality events like Roe’s abalone in its Northern range, and numerous small inshore species in shallow bays throughout the mid-West.
The West Australian Fish Foundation was born of the need to address a range of fish population problems as they arise and by utilizing best practice restocking techniques, in order to maintain wild stocks using aquaculture reared fingerlings, while at the same time undertaking scientific monitoring of its restocking programs. Growth comparisons between stocked and wild fish are undertaken along with genetics studies are part of stock enhancement projects across a range of species.
By co-ordinating the current expertise available, from both around Australia and overseas, the Foundation is able to undertake conservation restocking with a range of fresh and saltwater species, providing a valuable service to maintain and enhance fish stocks throughout the State.
All restocking and stock enhancement work is undertaken by the Foundation with all care with the object of doing no harm to existing wild populations,
|Restocking is the augmentation of depleted wild stocks.|
|Stocking is introducing fish into areas where they have not previously occured or existed.|
|Stock enhancement is the augmentation of wild stocks that are not depleted to any great extent.|