Pesticides in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area: Plausible risks to fish populations

Hook, Sharon E., Smith, Rachael A., Waltham, Nathan, and Warne, Michael St.J. (2024) Pesticides in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area: Plausible risks to fish populations. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. (In Press)

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Abstract

Waterways that drain the Great Barrier Reef catchment area (GBRCA) transport pollutants to marine habitats, provide a critical corridor between freshwater and marine habitats for migratory fish species, and are of high socioecological value. Some of these waterways contain concentrations of pesticide active ingredients (PAIs) that exceed Australian ecotoxicity threshold values (ETVs) for ecosystem protection. In this article, we use a “pathway to harm” model with five key criteria to assess whether the available information supports the hypothesis that PAIs are or could have harmful effects on fish and arthropod populations. Strong evidence of the first three criteria and circumstantial weaker evidence of the fourth and fifth criteria are presented. Specifically,we demonstrate that exceedances of Australian and New Zealand ETVs for ecosystem protection are widespread in the GBRCA, that the PAI contaminated water occurs (spatially and temporally) in important habitats for fisheries, and that there are clear direct and indirect mechanisms by which PAIs could cause harmful effects. The evidence of individuals and populations of fish and arthropods being adversely affected species is more circumstantial but consistent with PAIs causing harmful effects in the freshwater ecosystems of Great Barrier Reef waterways. We advocate strengthening the links between PAI concentrations and fish health because of the cultural values placed on the freshwater ecosystems by relevant stakeholders and Traditional Owners, with the aim that stronger links between elevated PAI concentrations and changes in recreationally and culturally important fish species will inspire improvements in water quality. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2024;00:1–24. © 2023 Commonwealth of Australia and The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

Item ID: 82320
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1551-3793
Keywords: Atrazine; Crustaceans; Diuron; Imidacloprid; Tropical ecotoxicity
Copyright Information: © 2023 Commonwealth of Australia and The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2024 01:46
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180507 Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments @ 50%
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