There is something great about seeing popular fishing species being stocked into popular fishing spots. Recfishwest was on hand recently as young students from John Tonkin College and Murdoch University released thousands of black bream into the Murray River as part of their aquaculture program.
The young bream were reared by students in college aquariums, fed with brine shrimp, also grown at the college, and health-checked before being released into the river at approximately 30mm long.
John Tonkin College’s aquaculture program is proving to be popular with the students and this program is set to be repeated in 2020 meaning even more bream will be released and even more kids will develop a close affinity to bream and learn about the importance of our estuary systems. We hope this program helps to ignite the passion of these future scientists, leaders and fishers.
A great project from Murdoch Uni, John Tonkin College students and the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council saw 5,000 juvenile black bream released this week into the Murray River.The young bream were reared by students in college aquariums, fed with brine shrimp, also grown at the college, and health-checked before being released into the river. We're stoked to see community-based stocking efforts like this, especially for popular recfishing species like black bream and we hope thiis first batch of fish will lay a solid foundation for future bream stocking efforts.You can read more about the project here: https://www.peel.wa.gov.au/breaming-with-opportunities/
A new trial project by Murdoch University will be providing valuable evidence to support future habitat enhancement and restoration projects in our estuaries.
The project is to encourage the growth of black bream’s favourite food the black pygmy mussel.
We support projects such as this as fishing experiences rely on plentiful fish stocks which in turn require healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems. This is especially true in estuarine environments, which act as important nursery habitats for many key recreational fish species.
In the case of the black pygmy mussel, not only do they filter the water preventing algal blooms and fish kills, but the mussels are also an important food for black bream. More mussels mean more food for bream, thereby improving the bream’s growth rate and body condition. This means bigger and better bream which in turn will mean better fishing experiences.
Newly hatched black pygmy mussels are called spat and these spat like to settle on logs, branches, pylons, rocks and any other submerged habitat. Unfortunately, filamentous algal also like to settle on this structure and once the algae have settled there is no room for the mussels to settle and grow.
This project has two main parts.
Part one – Snag for a Snag
Part one of the project involves volunteers brushing algae off snags in the upper Swan River when the mussels are spawning creating an abundance of habitat for mussel spat to settle on. Strong colonisation of these snags by mussels will then preclude future growth of algae and provide an ongoing food source for black bream in the Swan River.
To date there have been three volunteers cleaning days to make habitat available for mussel spat. Check out the video of these cleaning days below.
Huge thanks to the volunteers who showed up on Saturday. It was a tough slog on the hottest November in Perth on record. The mussel gods thank you!
The second part of this project involves the deployment of a mussel reef, the first of its kind in the Swan River estuary system. Not only will this reef increase diversity of habitat around the flats in the estuary basin it will also improve the general health of the Swan River. Mussels, filter-feeders by nature, are already attached to these deployed reefs and will immediately begin to consume plankton and non-living material from the water column, in turn improving light penetration and growing conditions for aquatic vegetation plants.
Check out the video of this reef below
‘’Mussels can positively affect an ecosystem by its capacity to filter water and greatly improve the health of the water system in which they inhabitant,’’Project coordinator Alan Cottingham says.
You can see the difference they make in a tank full of water here.
Having healthy fish habitats is key to having healthy and sustainable recreational fisheries and Recfishwest is proud to support programs and initiatives that help keep our environment healthy.
Great fishing experiences rely on plentiful fish stocks and healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems. This is especially true in estuarine environments, which act as nursery habitat for many key fishing species as well as a lifetime habitat for others.
Murdoch University have been working on a project to improve the recreational fishing experience in the Swan River Estuary by providing and restoring complex habitat and prey communities with funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
The health and habitat of the Swan River Estuary System is extremely important for its inhabitants and the community who access it. A habitat that provides shelter for fish, as well as acting as an attractant for prey communities is what sets the scene for a healthy and self-reliant eco system. In turn, it can improve the overall health of the system which will in turn, improving recreational fishing experiences.
Part three (final stage):
VOLUNTEERS and FAMILIES NEEDED to help restore the Swan rivers mussel populations.
Did someone say free sausage sizzle? Yep! Come down this Saturday, to help Murdoch University researchers with a project to restore habitat and help bring back an abundance of black bream to the Swan River, as part of a project titled ‘Snag for a Snag.’ It’s a great day to come down and enjoy the beautiful swan river, lend a hand and even have a fish afterwards! Volunteers will help by preparing the banks of the river for the arrival of the Black Pygmy Mussel spat.
The newly hatched black pygmy mussels, called spat, attach themselves to the clean snags, increasing important prey communities for black bream, thereby improving the breams growth rate, body condition and therefore enhancing the recreational fishing experience.
WHEN: 10am Saturday 16th November
WHERE: Kings meadow Oval Guildford
WHAT TO BRING: sturdy footwear, boardshorts/bathers, waders.
Water, snacks and a BBQ will be provided.
The second part of this project commenced on March 22nd with the deployment of a mussel reef, the first of its kind in the Swan River Estuary System. Not only will this reef increase the diversity of habitat around the flats in the estuary basin, thereby attracting fish through provision of greater food abundance and diversity as well as shelter, it will also improve the general health of the Swan River in that particular location. The mussels, filter feeders by nature, are already attached to these reefs and will immediately begin to consume plankton and non-living material from the water column, in turn improving light penetration and growing conditions for aquatic vegetation plants.
‘’Mussels can positively affect an ecosystem by its capacity to filter water and greatly improve the health of the water system in which they inhabitant.’’ Project coordinator Alan Cottingham says.
You can see the difference they make in a tank full of water here.
Local volunteers have been enthusiastically putting their hand up to engage in the project, assisting in the restoration and deployment components whilst raising awareness of the importance of environment quality for fish stocks. Check out the reef’s deployment video below all made possible with help from volunteers from the Marine Men’s Shed, Murdoch University Dive Club, Murdoch University students and other local volunteers. Reef locations are yet to be announced.
This trial project will explore the potential for scaling-up of such projects, providing valuable evidence to support future habitat enhancement and restoration projects in other estuaries.
Earlier in the year, Murdoch began part one of the project by cleaning and re-snagging existing habitat in the upper Swan River to align with the expected mussel spawning cycle. The newly hatched black pygmy mussels, called spat, attach themselves to the clean snags, increasing important prey communities for black bream, thereby improving the breams growth rate, body condition and therefore enhancing the recreational fishing experience. A short video of this project can be viewed below.