But the Treasurer will not say how much is in the forthcoming State Budget to restore upstream habitats of other species. ‘I’m not going to talk about what’s in or out of the budget,’ Mr Buswell said.
‘But at this particular point, both the Department of the Environment and the Swan River Trust do enjoy significant financial support from the State Government to enable them to protect what really is one of the jewels in the crown of Perth, and that is the Swan River.’
Mr Buswell wore waders to release 600, 25cm-long juvenile mulloway bred at Challenger Institute, Fremantle, at The Coombe, Mosman Park recently.
He said it was probable that environmental factors caused the drop in the species’ numbers, but the Government was working on the ‘ongoing’ challenge of fertiliser run-off upstream that threatened other fish habitats.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said riverbank degradation and fertiliser inflow were probably contributors, given the examples of Mandurah’s degraded Peel Inlet and the Upper Swan.
‘But this mulloway project represents a giant step forward to the knowledge of the fish in the metropolitan area,’ Dr Rowland said. ‘The genetic component of the study might show they are a homogenous group or there are separate groups along the WA coast.’
The Mosman Park fish came from parents taken near Geraldton, from which 20,000 juveniles were set free near the Mid-West port and 50 near Hillarys in May, and 1400 in Mandurah last Friday.
‘Mulloway are better on the east coast where juvenile are known to frequent river mouths, but southern WA is typified by estuaries that are influenced by tidal movement,’ Challenger Institute aquaculture director Greg Jenkins said.