Recently, OzFish Unlimited North QLD Chapter (OzFish) and Tropical Rivers Consulting undertook baseline fish surveys at the TYTO Precinct in Ingham.
The surveys form part of larger plans for the Herbert River Catchment and Landcare Group (HRCLG) and Hinchinbrook Local Marine Advisory Committee (HLMAC) to build a fish ramp (fishway) into the Council managed wetlands at TYTO.
TYTO Wetlands is a mixture of natural and manmade wetlands that support a variety of aquatic freshwater species and birdlife all year round. However, the wetlands currently suffer from poor connectivity to nearby streams which limits the recruitment of migratory fish.
Each year, early in the wet season, when these freshwater systems begin to flow, many migratory species of fish that require both fresh and saltwater to complete their lifecycles (including barramundi, mangrove jack, jungle perch and many smaller ‘bait’ species) move into wetlands to feed, grow and avoid predators.
The small fish that move into the wetlands provide food for larger fish and birds and contribute significantly to the control of mosquito larvae and other pests that can impact human health and contribute to economies.
The recent survey undertaken by OzFish found 12 species of fish in the TYTO Wetlands. The vast majority were exclusively freshwater, suggesting that there is little opportunity for catadromous (migratory) species to move into this system. It is hoped that a fishway will improve species composition, particularly for migratory fish species.
If Council, with its community partners OzFish, HRCLG and HLMAC can secure the necessary funding to build a fishway in the near future, it will provide improved fish passage to TYTO Wetlands for these fish to live and grow.
The fish ramp will also provide a useful education tool for the community and its visitors, which will lead to a broader understanding within the community of the importance of hydrology and habitat connectivity, and the impact that man-made barriers such as floodgates, pipes and culverts have on the lifecycles of these small, but important species that underpin the commercial and recreational fishing that we all enjoy.
This work is part of the Coastal Adaptation and Ecosystem Restoration in the Lower Herbert project which is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
For further information or enquiries please contact Council’s Public Spaces and Biosecurity Manager, Michael Nash on 4776 4600.