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Using science to sustain and maintain healthy fish stocks in WA

Some important West Australian fish species are in trouble as a result of a range of multiple environmental and man-made issues. Sadly many south west rivers and estuaries no longer provide suitable habitats for some native fish species and this was the driver for the establishment of the WA Fish Foundation in 2004. Decades of poor water management and climate change have reduced both water quality and flows. . . . . with devastating impacts. Now even the normally resilient black bream are under threat in some rivers and the opportunities for species that historically use estuaries, during part of their life cycle, are in decline.

Poor fishing practices, marine development and environmental changes have also adversely impacted on many prized West Australian oceanic species, particularly in our southern temperate waters. The stocks of some of these more vulnerable species impacted by poor inshore water quality and pollution are now below desirable stock levels.

Changing Sea Surface Temperatures associated with heat wave events are also beginning to impact with extensive mortality events like Roe’s abalone in its Northern range, and numerous small inshore species in shallow bays throughout the mid-West.

The West Australian Fish Foundation was born of the need to address a range of fish population problems as they arise and by utilizing best practice restocking techniques, in order to maintain wild stocks using aquaculture reared fingerlings, while at the same time undertaking scientific monitoring of its restocking programs. Growth comparisons between stocked and wild fish are undertaken along with genetics studies are part of stock enhancement projects across a range of species.

By co-ordinating the current expertise available, from both around Australia and overseas, the Foundation is able to undertake conservation restocking with a range of fresh and saltwater species, providing a valuable service to maintain and enhance fish stocks throughout the State.

All restocking and stock enhancement work is undertaken by the Foundation with all care with the object of doing no harm to existing wild populations,


Restocking is the augmentation of depleted wild stocks.
Stocking is introducing fish into areas where they have not previously occured or existed.
Stock enhancement is the augmentation of wild stocks that are not depleted to any great extent.

Latest News

Nov 29, 2015

We have just commenced a second Swan River prawn stock enhancement project sagain supported by the Department of Fisheries and Recishwest. Using the knowledge gained in the first project, which has now come to a close, this second project aims to stock a further 2,000,000 prawns into the SWan and Canning Rivers during summer.

Jun 25, 2015

The preliminary assessment report on future fish stocking in Wellington Dam has now been completed. The report, prepared for Recfishwest, sets out the opportunities as well as the challenges of stocking this dam.

Feb 02, 2015

In the 2014 round of funding the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund provided funds for the construction of a specialised Fish Transport Trailer.

Oct 18, 2014

Three research projects carried out by Murdoch University for the WA Fish Foundation were completed in July 2014. These projects have provided additional insight into the current status of Black Bream in the Blackwood Estuary and most importantly have now shed some light as to the cause of poor recruitment over the last 15-20 years.

Aug 17, 2014

The stocked mulloway, that were tagged as part of this project, continue to be recaptured in good numbers.