Stocks of prized fish boosted

Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell released tagged mulloway into the Swan River last week. Pictures: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d403919
Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell released tagged mulloway into the Swan River last week. Pictures: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d403919

‘I’m not going to talk about what’s in or out of the Budget, 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 said.

Mr Buswell released 600, 25cm-long juvenile mulloway bred at The Coombe in Mosman Park and Challenger Institute in Fremantle last Wednesday.

It is hoped that recreation fishers will record fish details as they are caught moving between the estuary and offshore.

The aim of the project, a joint venture between Fisheries and Recfishwest funded by 25 per cent of fishing licence fees, is to understand the behaviour of the prized recreational fish that can grow to 1.5m and whose population is under pressure.

Mr Buswell said environmental factors were the likely cause of a drop in mulloway numbers, but the Government was working on the ‘ongoing’ challenge of reducing the upstream fertiliser run-off that threatened other fish habitats.

Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said riverbank degradation and fertiliser inflow were likely 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 Mosman Park fish were spawned from adults 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 in southern WA is typified by estuaries that are predominately influenced by tidal movement,’ Challenger Institute aquaculture director Greg Jenkins said.