A large body of water and a car and person in the foreground

Understanding our fish

Waterways in tropical urban and agricultural environments have been highly modified over the past 100 years, with detrimental effects on fish and other aquatic life.

OzFish North QLD are helping to improve our understanding of fish in tropical waterways by conducting baseline fish surveys and habitat assessments, and by monitoring habitat improvement. Our project team are collecting data on fish assemblages across a range of different habitat types and are using the information gathered to inform habitat improvement projects.

Waterways and wetlands in the tropics support a diversity of fish species

The waterways and wetlands of north Queensland support a diverse range of fish species. The more popular species fished for in our estuarine and freshwaters include:

  • Mangrove jack (Lutjanus argentimaculatus)
  • Black bream (Acanthopagrus pacificus)
  • Jungle perch (Kuhlia rupestris)
  • Flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)

There are also numerous species targeted by anglers in nearshore and offshore environments, including trevally (Caranx and Gnathodon spp.), queenfish (Scomberoides spp.), cobia (Rachycentron canadum), mackerel (Scomberomorus spp.), jewfish (Protonibea diacanthus), jacks/emperors/snapper (Lethrinus and Lutjanus spp.) and, of course, coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus).

12 different fish laid flat out of water whilst being measured
A boat in a waterway with people doing fish surveys

Fish surveys and urban habitat management

Conducting fish surveys is an important component of identifying how our urban and agricultural waterways can be improved for fish and provides an opportunity for local fishers to better understand the waterways in their own backyard.

Over the past three years we have completed fish monitoring projects in the lower Herbert and lower Burdekin districts, as well as waterways around Townsville. We are continuing to monitor fish in our waterways and are working with our project partners to better understand the fish in these systems, and to improve habitat condition for our fish stocks in north QLD.


water flowing down rows of rocks with two people on the left

28 March 2024 | Navigating fish highways in North Queensland

Many species of fish need to migrate at some point in their lifecycle to breed or get access to more resources for survival. Around Australia, there are thousands of physical barriers to fish passage that are limiting the ability of fish to migrate. In an ideal world, we would simply remove the barriers to fish passage, restoring the movement and distribution of the waterway back to its original state.

Find Out More

This project received support from the Australian Governments Communities Environment Program, and is supported by our project partners: