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What swims beneath? Locals get a look at fish research

May 22, 2017

In April the community surrounding Gellibrand River got a rare glimpse into what fish live below the waters of the Gellibrand River.

Local landholders and fishing club members were treated to a display of electrofishing by Deakin university researchers Ty Matthews and Travis Howson. Electrofishing is a technique often used in fish surveys associated with river restoration works that are conducted by the Corangamite CMA.

Electrofishing momentarily stuns fish, allowing them to float to the surface to be caught and weighed and then returned unharmed to the river. Fish caught on the day included pouched lamprey, grayling, short finned eel, tupong, common galaxid and brown trout.

Deakin researchers have been sampling fish and bugs in the Gellibrand River since 2008 and repeated their surveying in the 16/17 summer. These surveys aim to document any changes that occur when improvements are made to bankside vegetation such as revegetation, removal of weed species like willows and stock exclusion. The surveys also provide critical information on the distribution and abundance of the iconic River Blackfish.

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