Last Friday (13th April) farmers and community members from along the Gellibrand River are being treated to an electrofishing demonstration by Deakin University. The targeted families and communities who have participated in the Sustainable Dairies Project being delivered through the Our Catchments Our Communities program, citizen science programs, and river health programs. The session was being run during the school holidays to encourage kids to come along. It is also the best time to do electrofishing as fish are most active at this time of the year.
The session provided a unique an opportunity for community members to learn more about the Gellibrand River and its fishy inhabitants, check out the video below of a pouched lamprey! It was also an opportunity for farmers and landowners to lean more about river restoration and how they can help improve fish habitat.
Electrofishing is a common scientific survey method used to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density, and species composition. When performed correctly, electrofishing results in no permanent harm to fish, which return to their natural state in as little as two minutes after being stunned.
Researchers from Deakin University have been sampling fish and bugs in the Gellibrand River since 2008. These surveys aim to document any changes in aquatic fauna that occur when improvements are made to bankside vegetation such as revegetation, removal of weed species such as willows and stock exclusion. They also provide critical information on the distribution and abundance of the iconic River Blackfish.