A breath of fresh air

Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION -

THE ben­e­fits of pro­vid­ing ar­ti­fi­cial oxy­gena­tion to fish in the Swan Can­ning River­park will be tested as part of a new black bream tagging project.

River sys­tems man­ager Mark Cu­g­ley said while mon­i­tor­ing had shown that pro­vid­ing oxy­gena­tion im­proved river water qual­ity, the study would show if fish were tak­ing ad­van­tage of these con­di­tions dur­ing pe­ri­ods of oxy­gen stress.

“Ar­ti­fi­cial oxy­gena­tion has been suc­cess­fully used in the Up­per Swan es­tu­ary since tri­als be­gan in 2006 to help process nu­tri­ents and im­prove aquatic habi­tat,” he said.

“This black bream tagging project will pro­vide valu­able data to in­form man­age­ment of the oxy­gena­tion plants and max­imise the ben­e­fit to fish and other aquatic or­gan­isms.”

The project, which is be­ing held by the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife in part­ner­ship with re­searchers from Mur­doch Uni­ver­sity, will track the move­ment of 55 black bream im­planted with acous­tic tags.

Staff and stu­dents from Mur­doch Uni­ver­sity’s Cen­tre for Fish and Fish­eries Re­search will also in­ves­ti­gate the meta­bolic re­sponse of black bream to a range of dis­solved oxy­gen con­cen­tra­tions and tem­per­a­tures in the lab­o­ra­tory to help es­tab­lish how these fac­tors may in­flu­ence the move­ments of black bream in the es­tu­ary.

Mr Cu­g­ley said the study, which has re­ceived ad­di­tional fund­ing from Rec­fish­west, would also iden­tify im­por­tant habi­tats for black bream, the most im­por­tant recre­ational fish species in the Swan and Can­ning rivers.

Recre­ational fish­ers who catch a tagged black bream are asked to re­turn the fish to the water and to con­tact re­searchers with any in­for­ma­tion from the tag.

Tagged black bream can be iden­ti­fied by a small yel­low plas­tic tag be­neath their dor­sal fin.

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