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Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 56(3)

Freshwater-flow requirements of estuarine fisheries in tropical Australia: a review of the state of knowledge and application of a suggested approach

Julie B. Robins A C, Ian A. Halliday A, Jonathan Staunton-Smith A, David G. Mayer B, Michelle J. Sellin A

A Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Southern Fisheries Centre, Deception Bay, Qld 4508, Australia.
B Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Animal Research Institute, Locked Mail Bag 4 Moorooka, Qld 4105, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: julie.robins@dpi.qld.gov.au
 
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Abstract

The freshwater-flow requirements of estuarine fisheries in tropical areas are reviewed, with reference to species important to fisheries in northern Australia. Fisheries production, in terms of catch, is often elevated during, or as a consequence of, years with higher river flow, but the causality of these relationships often remains unproven. Scientific information on the freshwater-flow requirements important to fisheries production is increasingly being sought during the planning, allocation and management of water resources within Australia and in other countries around the world. Frequently, such advice is based on the analysis of catch and freshwater flow (or rainfall), or on life-history information. Clarifying fisheries-specific goals of water management would assist in prioritising research into the freshwater-flow requirements of estuarine fisheries. A framework that integrates life-history information and correlative analyses is suggested to assist in understanding the freshwater-flow requirements of estuarine fisheries. The framework is also useful in identifying knowledge gaps and pertinent research questions. The approach is illustrated through its application to identifying key freshwater-flow events likely to be important for fisheries production in a dry tropical estuary in Queensland, Australia.

Keywords: banana prawns, barramundi, conceptual framework, environmental flows, mud crabs.


   
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