Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Reintroduction of threatened murray hardyhead to a managed wetland in southwest nsw (#62)

Iain IE Ellis 1 , James JW Walker 1 , Nick NW Whiterod 2 , Sascha SH Healy 3
  1. NSW DPI Fisheries, Buronga, NSW, Australia
  2. Nature Glenelg Trust , Mount Gambier, SA, Australia
  3. Murray Darling Wetland Working Group , Albury, NSW, Australia

The Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) is a small and short-lived (1–2year) native freshwater fish, with a tolerance for highly saline waters. As a result of habitat loss, river regulation and pest species, Murray hardyhead have diminished in abundance and distribution and are currently absent across much of their former range. In November 2018, approximately 800 individuals were successfully translocated from managed South Australian wetlands into a salt affected wetland in southwest NSW. Salinity in the translocation wetland was regulated via the delivery of environmental water to manage predators, pest fish, and stimulate productivity and breeding. Subsequent monitoring indicates regular annual breeding and recruitment success following translocation. This translocation represents the first attempt in NSW to re-establish a regionally extinct native fish, and is founded on strong collaboration between NSW, South Australian and federal agencies, environmental water managers and the owner/managers of the relocation wetland.

  1. Ellis, I. Walker, J. Whiterod, N. and Healy, S. (June 2022). Monitoring of translocated Murray hardyhead in Little Frenchmans Creek 2020-2022, Wingillie Station NSW Final Report 2021, Commonwealth of Australia
  2. Ellis I, Stoessel D, Hammer M, Wedderburn S, Suitor L, Hall A (2013.) Conservation of an inauspicious endangered freshwater fish, Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis), during drought and competing water demands in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 64 (9), 792-806.
  3. Ellis I and Kavanagh M (2014). A review of the biology and status of the endangered Murray hardyhead: streamlining recovery processes. Final Report prepared for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority by The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, MDFRC Publication 19/2014, June, 66pp.