Expanding fish productivity in Tasmanian saltmarsh wetlands through tidal reconnection and habitat repair

Prahalad, Vishnu, Harrison-Day, Violet, McQuillan, Peter, and Creighton, Colin (2019) Expanding fish productivity in Tasmanian saltmarsh wetlands through tidal reconnection and habitat repair. Marine and Freshwater Research, 70 (1). pp. 140-151.

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Fish use of coastal saltmarsh wetlands has been documented for many parts of Australia with the notable exception of Tasmania. An initial investigation to examine the diversity, density and patterns of fish use in the Circular Head coast saltmarshes of north-west Tasmania was undertaken. To aid decision making in repair strategies, the effect of saltmarsh condition on fish assemblages was studied using paired sites of predominantly unaltered and altered saltmarshes where levees were present. In all, 851 fish from 11 species were caught in 37 of the 48 pop nets. Three species, Aldrichetta forsteri, Arripis truttaceus and Rhombosolea tapirina, are important to commercial and recreational fisheries and contributed similar to 20% of the total catch numbers. The mean density of >72 fish per 100 m² is the highest yet reported from Australian studies and indicates that Tasmanian saltmarshes provide higher value habitat for fish compared with elsewhere in Australia, likely due to more frequent and prolonged flooding, and the lack of adjacent mangroves. There was no significant difference in fish assemblages between unaltered and altered marshes. The results suggest that restoring basic saltmarsh structure through tidal reconnection will deliver substantial benefits for fish productivity through habitat expansion.

Item ID: 56768
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: biodiversity, coastal management, ecological restoration, ecosystem services, salt marsh, seascapes, temperate fish communities, wetland conservation
Copyright Information: © CSIRO 2019.
Additional Information:

This manuscript is an edited version of the same study available in report form: Creighton, C., Walshe, T., McLeod, I., Prahalad, V., Sheaves, M., and Taylor, M. (2017). Repairing and conserving Australia's saltmarshes and seascapes. Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Publication, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld, Australia.

Funders: National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub, Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2019 07:51
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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