Australian Centre For Tropical Freshwater Research, TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA
The potential environmental impacts associated with the translocation of native fishes have received very little attention especially when compared to exotic species. However, the two are analogous. Any fish, regardless of its origin, moved to a new stream where it does not naturally occur, may cause enviromental harm. Native fishes have been widely translocated for recreational fishing or by aquarium releases and escapes from farm dams and aquaculture. These translocations have occurred without environmental evaluatin. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) includes a large number of streams that occur above waterfalls that act as fish passage barriers. The high conservation value aquatic fauna above these waterfalls exist in an environment that contains only a few small, nonangling species. It is these same streams that have been targeted for stocking of large, pedatory fish. Similarly, sections of the Burdekin River and catchments around Mackay have also received significant stockings of translocated native fish. Most of the major catchments of the WTWHA, and several National Parks in northern Queensland, with most either establishing new populations or being regularly stocked. Protecting streams and native fauna from undesirable translocations requires education programs similar to that for exotic fishes, and appropriate planning and coordination between fisheries and environmental management agencies.