While the floods that have occurred during early 2008 in Queensland can be devastating for those living on the floodplains and also those affected by the rise in rivers elsewhere, it was announced at a staff conference held by eWater Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) on February 20th, that the weather trend does hold good news for the fishing industry and consumers of seafood.
Speaking at the conference, Professor Gary Jones, the CEO of eWater CRC, talked of the effect floodwater flowing out to the sea has of boosting the populations of many of Australia’s most popular species of prawns, crabs and fish.
Stating that floods going out to sea are certainly not a waste of water, Professor Jones said, ‘When SE Queensland’s dams spill over, sending large river flows out to the Queensland coast, you can look forward to bigger catches of prawns, crabs and fish there, later.’
‘Even in far western Queensland when the inland rivers run after heavy rain and flooding, the fish population booms’, he said. ‘Scientists working with eWater CRC and Griffth University’s Australian Rivers Institute, routinely collect over 1000 individual fishes per net when inland waterholes have been recently flooded ― more than five times the usual catch in these pools.’
In the Georgina and Mulligan rivers, for example, the scientists find fish migrate up to 300 km to breed in these refreshed waterhole habitats.
‘It’s easy to forget that a short time ago inland rivers were dry except for a few refuge waterholes’, said Dr Nick Bond, of eWater CRC and Melbourne’s Monash University, speaking at the same conference.
‘During long drought, fish and other freshwater animals in waterholes put breeding ‘‘on hold’’, and even perish, until the waters are refreshed by storms or an environmental flow’, he said.
About eWater CRC
eWater was established in July 2005, the result of a merger between two former Cooperative Research Centres – the CRC for Catchment Hydrology and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology.
Both CRCs had been operating since the early 1990s and provided eWater with a foundation of well-established science and a team of enthusiastic and experienced people.
Sourced from eWater CRC Media Release