Conservation of an inauspicious endangered freshwater fish, Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis), during drought and competing water demands in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

  • Ellis I
  • Stoessel D
  • Hammer M
 et al. 
  • 18

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 19

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

Approximately 40% of Australian freshwater fish species are of conservation concern, largely because of the impacts of river regulation, habitat fragmentation and alien fishes. Murray hardyhead is a threatened fish endemic to the southern Murray–Darling Basin in Australia, which has declined significantly in range and abundance since European settlement. Conservation of the species has relied largely on environmental watering of off-channel wetlands where isolated populations persist. This became problematic during recent drought (1997–2010) because of competing demands for limited water, and resentment towards environmental watering programs from communities that themselves were subject to reduced water entitlements. In response, emergency conservation measures prioritised the delivery of environmental water to minimise applied volumes. Captive maintenance programs were established for fish rescued from four genetically distinct conservation units, with varying levels of breeding success. Several translocations of wild and captive-bred fish to surrogate refuge sites were also conducted. Future recovery of the species should secure existing natural and stocked populations and translocate fish to additional appropriate sites to spread risk and reinstate natural pathways for dispersal. The approach to the conservation of Murray hardyhead during extreme environmental conditions provides insights to inform the management of fishes in other drought-prone regions of the world.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Iain M. Ellis

  • Daniel Stoessel

  • Michael P. Hammer

  • Scotte D. Wedderburn

  • Lara Suitor

  • Arkellah Hall

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free