Following the successful installation of Mackay’s first fish hotels earlier this year, 10 new structures have been added to the Gooseponds waterways thanks to funding from the Mackay Regional Council, and designed and delivered by environmental consultants Catchment Solutions.
Senior Aquatic Ecologist, Trent Power has a genuine passion for fish and their aquatic ecosystems, so it’s understandable that he was excited to see more habitat for the multitude of native species in our region.
“Increasing habitat diversity builds resilience into the ecosystem. Currently large woody debris is lacking in the Gooseponds,” he said.
“The greater the diversity of species, the more likely a fish community is able to cope with threats like climate change. Healthy fish communities rely on healthy fish populations of individual species, which in turn are reliant on good water quality and good resource availability including food and shelter.”
According to Trent, the best solution long term would be to restore natural processes through riparian planting. As the trees age and fall into the stream the trunks and branches would create the habitat.
“Water quality issues are present in the Gooseponds and this will need societal changes to address. Short comings in resource availability though, can be addressed, to some extent, through initiatives including as the fish hotels.”
Pre-installation fish community sampling was undertaken at the locations where the hotels were being installed. Information collected forms a baseline data set that may be used to compare the results of future fish community monitoring at these locations.
In total seven native species and two introduced species were recorded. Native fish included Fly-specked hardy head, Eastern rainbow fish, Empire gudgeon, Bony bream, Tarpon, Sleepy cod, and Long-finned eel.
Pest fish included Tilapia and mosquito fish.
This installation was part of the wider Tilapia – Stop the Spread and fish installation project in the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region. With thanks to project funding partners Reef Catchments, the Australian Government, Rio Tinto, and Mackay Regional Council.
Valuable in-kind support was provided by Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance Inc and the Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association.