Health check for Perth waterways

Sep 23, 2013
Health check for Perth waterways
A serene part of the Swan-Canning Estuary.

A new report has found that the health of Perth's iconic Swan-Canning Estuary has improved in recent years.

Scientists from Murdoch University's Centre for Fish, Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems Research applied a newly developed Fish Community Index to assess the structure and diversity of the fish community in the waterway.

"Fish communities respond to their habitat conditions. If the estuary is in poor condition, we would expect this to impact the creatures who live, feed and breed in it," said senior researcher Dr Chris Hallett.

During the first half of 2012, Murdoch University scientists sampled and assessed more than 27,000 fish at 48 locations throughout the estuary.

The report, commissioned by the Swan River Trust, found that the Canning Estuary and upper part of the Swan Estuary continue to suffer periodically from problems due to a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Dr Hallett said that despite short-term challenges, including , the estuary was found to be in good to fair condition overall.

"There were specific conditions that led to the occasional poor rating. For example, in summer 2012, the upper Swan Estuary was recovering from a event caused by widespread deoxygenation after significant rainfall.

"Given the publicity around the supposedly poor state of the estuary in recent years, the results were perhaps a little surprising."

While the results are promising, Dr Hallett said in the estuary are still a cause for concern, and could continue to pose a challenge in the years ahead.

"I think efforts to reduce nutrient inputs are well intentioned, and some good work is being done to improve the water quality and habitats within the estuary," he said.

"In the longer term, we all need to change our behaviours to help solve the estuary's problems. A big part of that is raising awareness in the community."

Explore further: Regulators order pipeline upgrades after Montana oil spill

More information: researchrepository.murdoch.edu… ommunity_Indices.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How much water does a steelhead need to thrive?

Oct 10, 2012

Pescadero Estuary, located an hour south of San Francisco, is a coastal habitat under intense pressure from several interest groups, some human, others wild. The 643 citizens of the nearby town of Pescadero ...

Recommended for you

UN moves toward major treaty for ocean biodiversity

8 hours ago

UN member states agreed Saturday to begin negotiations on a treaty to protect marine biodiversity in ocean areas extending beyond territorial waters, in a move heralded by environmental organizations.

Ocean science needs more funding

Jan 23, 2015

Facing critical dangers like rising seas and the impact of climate change on marine life, US scientists need more funding in the next decade, officials said Friday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.