Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

The extent and adequacy of monitoring of Australian threatened freshwater fish (#40)

Mark Lintermans 1 , Wayne Robinson 2
  1. University of Canberra, CANBERRA, ACT, Australia
  2. Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW

As part of a national review of monitoring programs for Australia's threatened flora and fauna, the extent and adequacy of national monitoring programs for 57 threatened freshwater fish were reviewed against an evaluation framework with nine metrics (sampling periodicity; coverage of species range; management linkages; monitoring coordination; data availability & reporting; program design quality; Fit for Purpose?; inclusion of demographic parameters; monitoring longevity). State monitoring programs were not evaluated. Data on the 9 metrics were obtained from relevant experts on each taxon. The review included 38 taxa listed as threatened by the EPBC Act plus another 19 listed by the Australian Society for Fish Biology (and considered likely to be EPBC-listed in the near future). Only 31 taxa in total and 22 of the EPBC-listed taxa had national monitoring programs.  The monitoring programs that do exist scored best for coverage, sampling periodicity and being fit-for-purpose. However, monitoring programs for threatened freshwater fish species in Australia are mostly poor in data availability and reporting, the inclusion of demographic parameters, longevity of monitoring program, and design quality (statistical power). EPBC-listed species have monitoring programs with better data availability, better design quality, and lean towards better monitoring periodicity and program longevity. Significant differences in monitoring extent and adequacy among the EPBC classifications were inconsistent but Endangered and/or Critically Endangered species have better coverage, data availability, coordination and longevity than Vulnerable species.  Data availability for EPBC-listed taxa endemic to a single state was similar to that for multi-jurisdictional listed species, yet single state endemic species scored higher for all other evaluation metrics. Notably, Tasmania’s galaxiid fauna returned higher scores overall compared to other groups or jurisdictions. There is still considerable room for improvement in monitoring efforts for fish, and unless this occurs management cannot be optimised, and conservation outcomes will be jeopardised.