'Fish hotels' to boost river numbers
Scientists are building ‘fish hotels’ to protect the diversity of aquaculture in Central Queensland.
The Fitzroy Basin Association has built about a dozen wooden structures to form an ‘artificial reef’ in Rockhampton’s Yeppen Lagoons.
Fisheries biologist Tim Marsden, who worked on the project, has told ABC reporters that fish can swim in and stay safe until they grow stronger and swim downstream.
The hotels consist of a heavy cement base piled with wooden sleepers, and can attract an array of different fish.
“We'll have very small fish; empire gudgeons, bony bream, a whole bunch of food fish like that,” Mr Marsden said.
“Then we'll have the bigger fish that will also take up residence on the structures; barramundi, potentially mangrove jack can get into this part of the river, catfish and eels.
“The hotels will help the fish stay in the lagoon and grow and thrive ... this sort of habitat in the lagoon maximises the number of fish we have [in the waterway],” Mr Marsden said.
Fitzroy Basin Association project manager Shannon van Nunen, said it was just one part of the broader effort to increase the number of species in the local catchment.
“These estuaries are high predator zones [for young fish] ... if they get into the fresh water downstream — where there are fewer large fish and fewer predators — they've got more chance of growing up to become the future generations,” Mr van Nunen said.
“This is the first time these fish hotels have been assembled and installed in our region, but they have been used worldwide, so it's a tried and true science so we expect to get some really good results from them.
“These processes are critical for the health of our reef and the systems overall ... but an overall by product is more fish [for local anglers to catch].”