This is a copy of a letter that my local MP Dan Tehan sent to Sussan Ley and her reply.
I post this for comments .
THE HON SUSSAN LEY MP MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
MEMBER FOR FARRER
17 T F
The Hon Dan Tehan MP Minister for Education Member for Wannon
Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600
23 MAR 2020
2 4 MAR 2020
Office of the Viinisteri
Thank you for your representation of 23 January 2020 on behalf of your constituent Mr Stephen Mueller, concerning River Blackfish impacted by the recent bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales. The Australian Government shares your deep concern about the impacts of recent bushfires on native freshwater fish species. I apologise for the delay in responding.
In response to the devastating bushfires of the 2019/20 season, the Government has made an initial investment of $50 million to support the immediate work to protect wildlife, and work with scientists, ecologists, communities and land managers to plan the longer-term protection and restoration effort. I have also asked the Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, to convene an Expert Panel to assist in identifying priority recovery actions and developing a long-term wildlife protection and habitat restoration plan.
On 11 February 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment released a provisional list of 113 animal species identified by experts as the highest priorities for urgent management intervention over the coming weeks and months. The animal species included are initial priorities – many others will also need management intervention to support recovery. The list includes 17 fish species, one of which is the River Blackfish (south western Victoria) (Gadopsis sp. nov. “Western Victoria). Two priority actions have been identified for all high priority species:
1. Rapid on-ground surveys to establish extent of population loss and provide a baseline for
2. Protecting unburnt areas within or adjacent to recently burnt ground that provide refuge, as well
as unburnt areas that are not adjacent to burnt areas, especially from extensive, intense fire.
Given that the work of the Expert Panel is still ongoing, there will be further announcements over the coming weeks and months regarding the emergency on-ground actions to be supported by the Australian Government. I refer you to the Department’s website for bushfire recovery at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery for news of these announcements.
Thank you for bringing Mr Mueller’s concerns to my attention. Yours sincerely
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone (02) 6277 7920
As you can see its no contest , all the scientific evidence says they are nocturnal , I beg to differ.
Some of you will know that I have had trouble keeping water in my dams so I decided to put a liner in the front one , I got the liner from Geoff Miller and I have to say so far they have been great to deal with, when I mentioned about the ground being a little rocky they suggested i cover the floor of the dam with used carpet, this was a little weird given i spent most of my working life laying carpets and vinyls and now when I need them I had none , so i returned to my former employers at Carpet Choice in Warrnambool and over about six weeks I found enough carpet scraps to complete the mission.
I would like to thank all of the workers at Carpet Choice for there patients over this time and a special thank you to Rowan who works in the cutting room of the shop.
So i flew the drone over it to show you, so here it is .
The blue drum on the bank is an aerator that will go back in after the liner is settle in the large rock with the concrete slab around it is a future BBQ areas , the rocks on the bank will hold the liner down .
when i take the drone up high you can see ponds 4,3,2 from left to right pond 4 has the fish that were first going to Lake Mumblin them I was going to sell them now I am waiting on a geneticist to see if they can be returned to the Gellibrand where their parents came from.
the middle pond no 3 has no fish its where I get my yabbies for feeding the fish.
the last pond on the right no 2 pond has seven fish from the Gellibrand system that I am hoping to breed from so there young can also go back to the Gellibrand to help that fishery that is in so much trouble .
Of course along the way I have learnt so much about the behaviour of these fish and now i am embarking on a trial to see if we can breed them in tanks , this is the forerunner to a hatchery.
Here is a video of a fish or two that wants me to feed them everyday otherwise they get cranky.
This fish is a bit smaller than the others so I will take an offer between $ 250 -$300 for it
remember the sales conditions.sale conditions
Heads up everyone the rules around the catching the river blackfish are about to change from the second of February the daily bag limit will reduce from 5 fish to 2 fish and increasing the minimum size limit from 23 cm to 30 cm . this is a great win for the fish.
Thanks to Taylor Hunt for the information and his determination to get it approved.
You can own this fish for $300 .
this is a mature River blackfish from the farm , it is fit and healthy as you can see and its for sale, if they cannot go to lake Mumblin then their for sale.
I now have river blackfish for sale , these are mature fish around four years old .
sizes vary from around 150/180mm up to 300mm and above , the first fish is in the smaller range fit and healthy with a nice pattern . I will sell it for $180, you must come to the farm and bring a container suitable for it with an aerator or I can supply an aerator for an additional $20.
I can be contacted on this page or on 0407843998.
The results are in and it is as I suspected there are no blackfish in the Curdies river or it tributaries . just think for a minute what that means , If it is true that each catchment has a different gene pool then we have lost the genetics from an entire river system , while we have been asleep at the wheel we have lost a fish through negligence , laziness , apathy and some bad actors .
What to do now .
Yarra Pygmy Perch eDNA Survey Result
The results are in!
The Enviro DNA Laboratory in Parkville got the results of our recent eDNA survey back to us this week.
Together we sampled 31 sites across the Curdies River catchment. Yarra Pygmy Perch are present through the Curdies River from the above the estuary up to the Lavers-Hill Cobden Road and in the Cooriemungle / Scotts Creek up to the Port Campbell-Cobden Road. Yarra Pygmy Perch were not recorded from any of the more minor tributaries, or surprisingly from any further up the Cooriemungle Creek above the Scotts Creek confluence (around Williams Rd – Timboon-Colac Rd intersection) where we would predict their distribution based on the habitat and stream flow. These results indicate that Yarra Pygmy Perch are present in around 65 kilometres of waterways in the Curdies catchment and improves our current understanding of their distribution, previously recorded with any regularity, from the lower reaches around the trestle bridge site.
Interestingly, Southern Pygmy Perch are recorded across a much broader area and being closely related and utilising similar habitats it is interesting that Southern Pygmy Perch are present in some of the more minor tributaries where Yarra Pygmy Perch were not recorded. Southern Pygmy Perch are recorded throughout the Curdies River right up to Purrumbeete – Beals Rd where the habitat is in very poor condition and typically dry over summer. They’re also recorded in Sunday, Monday, Whiskey, Fenton and Scotts creeks, and another minor tributary just downstream of the trestle bridge.
River Blackfish eDNA was sampled from ten locations in the Curdies River, Cooriemungle, Scotts, Black Glen and Cowleys Creek. No positive results were recorded.
I have attached some maps which will help to visualise where each species was recorded and their distribution throughout the Curdies catchment.
Thankyou all again for your contribution in helping us to understand the current status of these important threatened species in our catchments.
Project Officer | Corangamite Catchment Management Authority