Recreational fishers to test water quality for fish in the lower Burdekin

Lower Burdekin Water Quality Monitoring, North Queensland

A citizen science project announced today for the lower Burdekin will see recreational fishers collect important information about water quality changes in freshwater wetlands across the lower Burdekin.

The project aims to monitor water quality in a tropical coastal wetland and is a collaboration between Australia’s dedicated fishing conservation organisation OzFish Unlimited, NQ Dry Tropics and recreational fishers from the Burdekin Fish Stocking Association.

OzFish Project Manager for North & Far North QLD, Dr Geoffrey Collins said the invitation to engage anglers in important water quality monitoring acknowledges the value of recreational anglers and their passion to see better management of coastal waterways and wetlands.

“Recreational fishers are acutely aware that water quality is a major issue for fish. They understand that current water management can be improved, and positive changes can result in improved fishing,” said Dr Collins.

“This is a great opportunity to give back to fishing and better understand how water quality changes over time and how different conditions can lead to different events such as, fish kills,” he said.

Dr Collins explained that as a result of coastal development, waterways and wetlands have changed over the past 100 years.

“By collecting information about how water quality changes over time, we can identify critical times of poor water quality and the conditions that lead to fish feeding, breeding and moving.

“We can then further use that information to review and assess current water management practices. And to improve our knowledge as local fishers.

NQ Dry Tropics Wetlands Team Leader Scott Fry said a lot of work had been undertaken to improve the condition of fish habitat in the Lower Burdekin alongside project partners Lower Burdekin Water and Burdekin Shire Council.

“It’s great to have OzFish involved working with the community to monitor water quality. This monitoring will give us a better indication of how all our hard work over the years has benefited the habitat,” Mr Fry said.

Burdekin Fish Restocking Society president Don Banister said “This project is an opportunity for us to better understand our freshwater systems, the conditions that lead to fish kills and to look at options for better management of these systems.”

OzFish founder and CEO Craig Copeland described the project as a fantastic opportunity for recreational fishers to mobilise in north Queensland.

“This will give the local fishing community the knowledge to talk about issues important to fish and what they can do to help protect and enhance fish populations in their backyard.”

Recreational anglers who would like to participate in the water quality monitoring project can join OzFish online.