Over the past 12 months, OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s fishing conservation charity, has taken fisher science to a new level using environment DNA (eDNA) technology to help determine where even the rarest of fish species can be found in the waterways.
With the support of the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery grant and the international charity, Global Giving, fishers have been able to utilise water samples and eDNA to identify and track fish species in waterways where restoration works are underway.
“Until now, sampling fish has been an epic challenge. There have been only a few ways to determine what fish are in your waterway, and most of those are either highly skilled tasks such as electrofishing or highly destructive, like netting. eDNA uses the fact that fish are constantly shedding scales containing their DNA and in the laboratory the species it came from can be identified, says OzFish’s Director of Habitat Programs, Cassie Price.
“eDNA sampling will help fishers to see the difference they are making to their local fish habitat. We are excited to see what some of the future sampling hold at our sites, as we suspect we will see greater fish diversity and stronger abundance at our sites as a result of our habitat restoration works, and this data will provide that evidence.
OzFish are widely using the eDNA sampling technology for fish and crayfish species across our bushfire and flood recovery sites across Qld, NSW and Victoria. And the early results have shown that they are supporting habitat recovery for some extremely rare and threatened species including; Eastern Cod, Macquarie Perch and Purple-Spotted Gudgeon. Plus finding some fish we would never have realised we were supporting such as rainbow fish, mountain galaxias, several other gudgeon species as well as Australian Smelt.
OzFish’s bushfire recovery projects have been funded by Global Giving, Landcare Australia and The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project which is supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.
If you’re interested in OzFish’s fisher science activities, would like to learn how to collect eDNA samples from your local waterway, follow this LINK to discover more. Join in on some training. Or join us to keep in touch with upcoming training in your area.
If you would like to get involved with Landcare across the state contact Landcare NSW directly.
Cassie Price, Director – Habitat Programs
0402 408 791| email@example.com
Renee Ferenc, Director – Engagement and Culture
0402 019193 | firstname.lastname@example.org