Fish monitoring stepped up in bid to stop invasive species

Nov 29, 2013 by Steven White
Fish monitoring stepped up in bid to stop invasive species
Tilapia were found predominantly in the permanent estuarine region which is a body of water approximately 2km in length, disconnected from the ocean for most of the year. Credit: Batavia Coast Maritime Institute

An invasive fish species currently occupying the Chapman River is being monitored in research exploring the effectiveness of different capture methods.

The Durack Institute of Technology's Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI) in Geraldton has just completed a Recfishwest sponsored preliminary survey on tilapia.

Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) is an invasive fish native to Africa and is part of the cichlid family of fish of which there are more than100 variants.

"Tilapia are a massive pest worldwide and their presence in the Chapman River which is a fairly small discontinuous waterway lends itself to exploring methods of removal," BCMI's Colin Johnson says.

Dr Johnson oversaw the survey which was conducted by BCMI students and was the major project for diploma student Kirsten Surmon.

"[It was my job] to design and implement a complex field experiment as one of the core units of the diploma," she says.

Students sampled fish using seine nets, fyke nets and various types of boxtrap, line fishing, dip netting and visual surveys and examined data from previous surveys.

Sampling sites included all significant permanent water bodies within the Chapman River main channel but no tilapia have been found above the Utakarra gauging station 9kms upstream of the river mouth.

Tilapia were found predominantly in the permanent estuarine region which is a body of water approximately 2km in length, disconnected from the ocean for most of the year.

"If we do find them upstream of the estuary, particularly in some of the smaller waterholes, these are some discreet areas where it might be possible to conduct comparative trials for removal techniques as well as impact studies of tilapia presence," Dr Johnson says.

It is not clear how tilapia got into the Chapman River but it seems likely they were released as ornamental fish.

Fieldwork for this project ran from mid May until late October during which time they conducted 19 separate sampling expeditions with 3000 total hours of sampling time.

This study saw the beginning of a larger project under the Australian Government's Caring For Our Country program, to be jointly managed by BCMI and the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council.

"The project will run until 2017 and will survey the Irwin, Greenough and Murchison Rivers with focus on biodiversity, tilapia monitoring and developing tilapia control strategies in the region," Dr Johnson says.

He says if the has spread significantly into other local the focus will change from control through removal to preventing further spread.

Explore further: Study sheds new light on how some fish adapt to saltwater

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study sheds new light on how some fish adapt to saltwater

Oct 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —Tilapia fish readily adapt to fresh or salty water, making them both good candidates for aquaculture and potential invasive pests. New work at the University of California, Davis, shows how tilapia can change ...

Tilapia feed on Fiji's native fish

Jan 12, 2010

The poster child for sustainable fish farming -- the tilapia -- is actually a problematic invasive species for the native fish of the islands of Fiji, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation ...

Piddling fish face off threat of competition

Dec 12, 2007

Research published today in the online open access journal, BMC Biology, shows that male tilapia fish use pheromones in their urine to fight off competitors and enforce social dominance.

Edible fish feasts beats malaria

Aug 09, 2007

The emerging threat of pesticide resistance means that biological malaria control methods are once again in vogue. New research published in the online open access journal BMC Public Health shows how Nile tilapia, a fish ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

10 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

20 hours ago

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...