This breeding and releasing of native fish project has achieved many observed benefits to us, the students; our school; and the wider community. However, it is the benefits to our local freshwater environment that has been most significant.
Increasing the public awareness of the plight of diminishing freshwater species and highlighting the fish’s importance in a wetland ecosystem has been an important step in this project. This is a necessary step to help any native organism under threat from habitat removal and deterioration due to urban sprawl.
Releasing native fish back into the City’s waterways increases the biodiversity and improves water quality. A valuable role of these native fish is that they naturally feed on midge and mosquito larvae, hence reducing the number of mosquitoes and midges during the summer season in a populated area. Mosquitoes cause irritating “itches“, but also transmit debilitating diseases such as Ross River virus. Natural biological control is far more preferable to extreme methods used in the past, such as pouring kerosene on the surface to stop the larvae breathing through the surface.
Any breeding programme that helps ensure the survival of a native endemic species is a good thing, regardless of a perceived lack in economic value of the animal to man. The size of these fish is too small to be considered for commercial fishing, but this should not detract from their importance and the right of an existence.
This is a very small project but its idea is based on the importance of work done at institutions such as Zoos and Universities, who develop breeding programs for endangered animals to help stop the rapid extinction of species from this planet.