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Author Topic: Its a long way to Aberfeldy A small fish makes the big trip back home  (Read 3172 times)

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Its a long way to Aberfeldy A small fish makes the big trip back home
20 December 2013

A recently discovered species of native freshwater fish that was rescued after the Aberfeldy-Donnelly's Fire in Gippsland has gone home.

ARI Fish Ecologist Dr Tarmo Raadik said:"110 Tapered Galaxias were moved from Stoney Creek near Seaton in March 2013 to a specialised aquarium facility at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries' (DEPI) Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) in Heidelberg, to ensure the survival of the species after its stronghold was hit by the fires."

"These fish were kept at ARI as an insurance population while their catchment recovered from the impact of the bushfires. The fish are still healthy, with all but four surviving the eight month long stay at ARI, and the rest were taken back home this week," Dr Raadik said.

"A recent assessment of the isolated mountain catchment that is home to the Tapered Galaxias found that it had recovered sufficiently for the fish to be returned."

"These fish are confined to the very upper reaches of a few small mountain streams and they have nowhere else to go if their habitat is damaged so we are very fortunate that the ARI aquarium was available to receive them."

"The aquarium facility was used earlier at ARI to assist the Barred Galaxias to recover from the devastating 2009 bushfires."

"The recent assessment of the catchments around Stoney Creek resulted in more good news for the Tapered Galaxias, with two more populations of the fish being found in isolated streams, but all within 7 km of each other."

"Until these new populations were discovered, the entire known population of the species was confined to a single catchment."

"This discovery is a significant step in the conservation of Tapered Galaxias, although all three sites are still vulnerable to events like bushfires and drought that pose a significant threat to their survival."

The threatened Barred Galaxias (Galaxias fuscus) is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Act and the Tapered Galaxias (Galaxias sp. 8), a recently discovered species in the process of being scientifically described, is considered critically endangered and has been nominated for listing under the FFG Act.

The Victorian Government has a responsibility under the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 to protect threatened species. These animals and plants contribute significantly to the biodiversity of their ecosystems. The knowledge we acquire about these species helps us to then take the practical on-ground steps needed to ensure their survival.

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