By Adam Kerezsy
"I spend an inordinate period of time grubbing round muddy waterholes and rivers, wondering the why and the way of fish that stay in particular components ... Fish and deserts are strange bedfellows, yet that is the method it is." In desolate tract Fishing classes, Kerezsy takes us on a rollicking trip via our arid-zone waterways and introduces us to the tough-as-nails critters that dwell in them; he exhibits us that we've got much to profit from our fit wasteland rivers, provides a compelling case to maintain them, and, utilizing them as his consultant, he outlines ways that we will hinder extra degradation of the Murray-Darling. Read more...
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Extra info for Desert fishing lessons : adventures in Australia’s rivers
In certain areas, paddocks that were irrigated every year became non-productive and saline. In others, where catchments had been cleared, rainfall events eroded riverbanks, and the rivers themselves became choked with sediment. Non-native plants and animals appeared to thrive, but native species often declined. In the rivers, where previously there had been yellowbelly and cod, there were infestations of carp. In an attempt to find solutions, ecologists started looking to new branches of science like restoration ecology for answers.
Most tropical fish are imported to Australia from hot areas in the Americas, Africa and Asia. If these species find themselves swimming free in a Tasmanian creek the odds are it’ll be a fairly brief encounter with freedom. But – on the other hand – Australia has more than its fair share of warmer waters too, and consequently aquarium escapees pose a constant threat. Thankfully, the Australian aquaculture industry has so far concentrated on native species, along with Salmonids (first invaders), and this means that, unlike many other countries, we’re less likely to experience inadvertent releases of food fish, which are often carp.
4 For this reason, gambusia are frequently described as ‘aggressive’ or ‘pugnacious’. A lot of cichlids are called ‘aggressive’ in the aquarium trade for the same reason. It’s unlikely that gambos are any more malicious than the next fish, it’s just that, like carp, they’re visible, and the great mozzie eradication experiment of the 1920s and 1930s was a dismal failure: we used to love them but now we hate them. Gambusia belong to a family called Poeciliidae and, along with their relatives – guppies, mollies, platies and swordtails – are distinct among Australia’s current fish fauna in that they give birth to live young.