Native freshwater fish of the Redlands
Agassiz's Perchlet. Photo: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum
The Redlands Coast are home to approximately 17 native freshwater fish species. Our freshwater fish play vital roles in the balance and ecology of our creeks and water bodies.
Freshwater fish are excellent indicators of waterway health, as a healthy creek or dam will support an abundant and diverse fish population. Some of the larger freshwater fish are also important recreational angling species and some smaller species can make excellent aquarium pets.
Redlands Coast freshwater fish can be found in any of our 12 mainland catchments, on Stradbroke Island and also on many of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.
Due to changing landscapes in the Redlands Coast, there has been a steady decline in the abundance and diversity of native freshwater fish. Degraded water quality, primarily from excessive nutrients and sediments, can directly affect native fish.
Here's how you can help protect the native fish populations of the Redlands:
1. Improve water quality
Improving catchment management, through actions such as decreasing pollutants (primarily nutrients and sediments) will improve water quality and provide favourable conditions for native fish.
Think about your land management practices, including home gardening and domestic uses and how they could be improved to reduce nutrient and sediment run-off.
2. Improve native fish habitat
Restoring our degraded creeks and dams to a more natural state will greatly assist our native fish. Planting and maintaining creek and dam bank vegetation and keeping it weed free will provide shade and cooler water preferred by native fish. It is also important to retain timber in our waterways as this is crucial habitat for native fish.
3. Stopping the spread of exotic pest fish
Pest fish are mainly spread by people moving them between waterways. If you catch one, do not release it. Kill it humanely and dispose of it away from the water. It is unlawful to possess pest fish, alive or dead, or to use them as bait. Penalties of up to $200,000 apply.
Line fishing for carp and tilapia has been shown to significantly decrease populations of these pests. Bait such as worms and corn work well for these species. Bait trapping of juveniles using funnel traps may also be an option.
All forms of netting (except landing nets and scoop or dip nets) are illegal in the freshwaters of Queensland. Please visit the the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website for details on freshwater fishing regulations.
Pacific Blue-eye. Photo: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum
4. Stocking with local native fingerlings
If water quality is good and habitat is available, releasing a mix of large and small bodied native fish can help boost native fish populations in your dam. There are several small-bodied native fish that are highly recommended to help control mosquito populations. It is important to ensure only local native species (preferably with local genetics) are released.
In order to support our native fish populations, Redland City Council is running several proactive programs such as the Waterways Extension Program, to improve water quality (reduce nutrients and sediments), and to protect and enhance creek bank vegetation and aquatic habitats. The Redlands Waterway Recovery Report includes a comprehensive fish survey, which helps us track the health of our native fish populations.
If you would like further assistance or information on native fish in the Redlands, please contact our Waterways Extension Officer at IndigiScapes on (07) 3824 8611.