Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2019October 14 - 17, 2019 Canberra, ACT

Special Sessions

2019 Special Sessions will include:

Aquageography: people, fish, and place

AquaGeo SessionLogofinal

In this session, we will discuss the complex ways people relate with fish and their aquatic environments. Within a framework of human geography – how people interact with the natural environment – presentations in this session should consider how people use, value, and manage fish. These relationships with fish could be direct or indirect, including efforts to protect marine or freshwater environments to benefit fish species. We aim to have presenters that span research academics, Indigenous Peoples, and government representatives from across Australasia. 

Mae Noble – The Australian National University
Michelle Pyke – University of Western Australia
Nadine Marshall – Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation & Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 
Emily Ogier – University of Tasmania & Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

Conservation in action

Conservation Fish Images

Conservation of threatened fish spans marine and freshwater biomes and drives the research of many members of the ASFB. Conservation of threatened fishes is often a labour of love, however, even the smallest actions can have lasting effects on populations, species and communities. This session will showcase conservation in action, from small-scale on-ground activities to policy implementation.

Mark Lintermans – University of Canberra
Hugh Allan – University of Canberra
Ben Broadhurst – University of Canberra

Fish art, science & communication

Fish Art

Selling your science through imagery is critical in a modern technological society. The professional and amateur artist are in the sweet spot for this session as are the managers and researchers with a curiosity for fishes and science beyond the daily rigors of the quantitative domain. Experiencing and communicating fish science through traditional art such as illustration, painting, photography and sculpture is welcomed. Discussion will also encompass modern mixed media approaches and infographics and community-based case studies.

Lindsay Marshall – Stick Figure Fish
Maggie Watson – Charles Sturt University
Brendan Ebner – TropWATER, James Cook University

Cultural flows

Cultural flows

First Nations are the original custodians of freshwater in Australia. Our sophisticated water knowledge and complex cultural connections to rivers, wetlands and waterways have often been overlooked in mainstream water management. The concept of Cultural Flows has created a focal point for exciting developments in water policy and planning. This session will showcase new research, innovative policy development and best practice governance approaches that create a foundation for First Nations water rights in Australia.

Rene Woods, Grant Rigney & Will Mooney –Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations

Aquatic translocations & invasives: ecology, emerging threats & implications for management

Aquatic Translocations

Aquatic organism introductions have resulted in a range of environmental and biological impacts such as competition, predation, habitat alteration, disease, and hybridisation interactions. This session is intended to cover case studies on tropical and temperate experiences, including up to date information on recent incursions, monitoring programs and control measures.

Bonnie Holmes – DAF Qld
Nathan Miles – NSW DPI

Social and reproductive behaviour: who mates, who associates and why?

Social and repro

We seek talks on mating behaviour (e.g. mate choice, sperm competition, mating tactics, egg laying decisions) and social interactions (e.g. dominance contests, winner-loser effects, schooling/shoaling decisions, predator inspection, cleaner-host). We encourage talks that examine the mediating effects of social or environmental variation on behaviour (e.g. temperature, salinity, sex ratio, population density).

Rebecca Bathgate – The Australian National University
Marion Wong – University of Wollongong
Michael Jennions – The Australian National University

Genetic applications for fish management


Genetic research has the potential to contribute valuable information to improve the management of fisheries and aquaculture, as well as wild populations of native or invasive fishes. We invite talks that explore the relationship between genetics and management and anticipate broad coverage of phylogeography and population genetics as well as environmental DNA (eDNA) for species-specific detection or whole community assessment.

Elise Furlan – University of Canberra
Peter Cowman – James Cook University
Joseph DiBattista – Australian Museum & Curtin University

Making monitoring meaningful

Making Monitoring Meaningful

The mention of it sends people scurrying for cover and hiding their cheque books. However, effective and informative monitoring is critical in determining the success of interventions, key to adaptive management strategies and is fundamental to our understanding of issues both large (e.g. climate change, fishing effort, environmental watering and carp control) or localised in scale (e.g. cyclones, terrestrial inputs, fishways, reintroductions, artificial habitats). Short term or long term, marine or freshwater, making monitoring meaningful across management and research programs is vitally important in inspiring future fisheries and conservation science, informing decision making processes and engaging with the community and governments.

Matt Beitzel – ACT Parks, Conservation & Lands
Thomas Holmes – WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions
Heleena Bamford – Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Improving fisheries management through adoption of technology & effective communication

Improving Fisheries

Although fisheries management is traditionally based around geographic boundaries, fish stocks are free to travel across borders without passport checks or border police checks. This creates a challenge that can only be solved by effective communication and cooperation on fisheries and aquaculture matters amongst jurisdictions. The emergence of new technologies and communication methods can aid in improving efficiency and effectiveness of regulation, monitoring and stock assessment processes and effective compliance approaches across jurisdictions. This session will explore the use of new technologies to understand a range of issues, such as recreational fishing catch and effort, real time monitoring of TEPS species interactions and compliance tools like cameras and drones to assist in making regulation simple, reasonable and enforceable. We encourage scientists, managers and communication specialists to join us to “communicate to illuminate and inspire” in the fisheries management space.

Kate Simpson – Victorian Fisheries Authority
George Day – Australian Fisheries Management Authority


Murray-Darling Basin Fish Kills: Research and Management

FIsh Kills 1 FIsh Kills 2

In the summer of 2018/19, widespread algal blooms and fish kills occurred across several river systems of the Murray-Darling Basin, the most devastating at the time being in the Lower-Darling which saw hundreds of thousands of fish succumb to hypoxia, including threatened, iconic and recreationally revered species such as Murray cod, Golden perch and Silver perch. These tragic fish deaths are a stark reminder of the pressure our native freshwater fish populations are under in highly regulated river systems, at a time when climate change is leading to more frequent and extended droughts. In this session, researchers, managers and community members involved in the fish kill response will discuss the causes of the recent kills, the real impact of these on native populations and what we may expect in terms of recovery, the fish kill response by governments and the broader community, and what management and policy decisions have been made or should be made to facilitate recovery and help prevent these events in the future.

If you have an idea of a relevant paper please contact the convenors to discuss.

Craig Boys - NSW Department of Primary Industries

Katherine Doyle - Charles Sturt University

Simon Mitrovic – University of Technology Sydney