Ideas for river flow

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - WHAT'S ON -

A NEW project track­ing black bream in the Swan and Can­ning rivers is not only giv­ing re­searchers an in­sight into the species but also the health of the wa­ter­ways.

Mur­doch Univer­sity stu­dent re­searchers Jake Wat­sham and Nathan Beerkens’ Swan Fish Track study uses acous­tic tags to record the bream, one of the rivers’ most cov­eted fish­ing species, through the rivers.

Help­ing to fund the project, a Rec­fish­west spokesman said pre­lim­i­nary re­sults had given them some in­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion.

“Ded­i­cated fish­ers would know there are ar­eas where you are more likely to find fish – they can be found as far down­stream as Fre­man­tle and well up into the Swan Val­ley/ Guild­ford reaches and be­yond,” he said.

“The study has helped prove that black bream no longer utilise deeper pock­ets of wa­ter in the mid­dle/up­per reaches of the river where oxy­gen de­ple­tion is preva­lent.

“Com­plex en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons are to blame for this, such as a dry­ing cli­mate lim­it­ing fresh­wa­ter flush­ing of the river, but the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of or­ganic plant mat­ter is also a cause, re­sult­ing from fer­tiliser nu­tri­ent load­ing lead­ing to al­gae growth, which dies, sinks, de­cays and con­sumes oxy­gen in the deeper wa­ters which is hard to re­plen­ish.”

Mr Wat­sham said mak­ing positive changes in the river needed the com­bined in­put of the com­mu­nity, sci­en­tists and gov­ern­ment.

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