Underwater filming and field guides to protect Pilbara freshwater fish

An underwater documentary of the freshwater fish of the Pilbara region has been commissioned by the Murdoch University, as part of a Rangelands NRM and State NRM funded project.

Thirteen species of freshwater fish are suffering enormous pressure due to resource projects in the region. It is intended that the resources created by this project will be used as educational tools by schools and the general community.

As well as commissioning the documentary, a field guide and brochure will also be produced to educate the Pilbara community about the unique aquatic fauna of the Pilbara Drainage Division.

Dr David Morgan, senior research leader of the Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit at Murdoch University said there were a number of threats to the fish which exist in some of the harshest environment in Australia.

“The fish rely on refuge pools or groundwater maintained perennial stream habitats to survive during the severe annual dry period.

“Massive dewatering operations, dust suppression, and groundwater abstractions for extraction and processing purposes in the region all have the potential to dramatically alter the natural habitats of the freshwater fish.

“They are also threatened by the potential of the introduction of pest fishes such as tilapia in the Chapman, Gascoyne, Minilya and Lyndon Rivers and guppies in Cape Range National Park.

“We hope to greatly enhance the level of community awareness and appreciation of this precious aquatic ecosystem,” Dr Morgan said.

ENVFusion films will be responsible for filming and producing the underwater documentary of the freshwater fishes of the Pilbara region.

To capture all of the different species, filming will take place in many of the region’s rivers and will also include footage of major iconic landscapes such as Karijini and Millstream.

Various local community groups and Traditional Owners will also be involved in the project.

For more information, please contact David Morgan.

Image: Leiopotherapon ahenus (©David Morgan)
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