Relative condition of the freshwater fish community in the Macleay Basin: North Coast New South Wales Ecohealth Program

Gavin Butler, Dean Gilligan, John St Vincent Welch, Harry Vivers, Andrew Bruce, Johnathon Doyle & Toby Piddock
NSW Department of Primary Industries, September 2015
ISSN 1837-2112

Introduction

Cover of Freshwater Macrophyte Communities of the Macleay River

Many of the streams and rivers throughout Australia have experienced considerable change since European settlement, including those along the continent’s eastern seaboard.

The aim of this current study was to determine the relative health of the fish communities in the Macleay Basin as part of the North Coast Ecohealth Program. Fish were sampled at 27 sites throughout the Macleay Basin between 16th December 2014 and 18th February 2015, using combinations of electrofishing, seine netting and bait trapping.

The analytical procedures developed for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Sustainable Rivers Audit and NSW Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting (MER) programs were used to derive fish health indicators representing Expectedness, Nativeness, Recruitment and Overall Condition for each site.

The current study is the first comprehensive survey of fish in the Macleay Basin. As such the data presented effectively provides a baseline against which future samples can be compared, rather than being a definitive indicator of the long-term health of the basin.

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