Fish surveys show good river health

Ever wondered how we monitor what happens when we release water for the environment?

Since 2009, there has been an ongoing program to study the fish population with annual surveys at several sites in the Glenelg River.

By looking at fish populations each year, we can get a good sense of whether the river is improving. Since the surveying began we’ve seen some big increases in fish populations and range: River Blackfish numbers have increased by up to 359%; Tupong and Estuary Perch have being captured further upstream than ever before – as far as Fulham Reserve, about 300 km upstream of the Estuary!

Both the Tupond and the Estuary Perch require flows to allow for migration up and down the waterway which is necessary for breeding.

In March this year, researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) were out once again to complete the annual surveys.

They captured a total of 2,135 fish – 12 native species and six exotic. The endangers Variegated Pygmy Perch and River Blackfish were the most prolifically caught species as part of this year’s surveys, which is particularly notable considering their threatened species status.

To find out more about the water for the environment program, visit our Water for the Environment page