Fisheries and Aquaculture

Key Contact - Fisheries

Dr Danny Bucher
t: +61 2 6620 3665
f: +61 2 6620 2669

Our fisheries and aquaculture researchers work with both marine and freshwater species. Fisheries ecologists study not only the target species of fisheries but also fish habitat and the effects of fishing on the broader ecosystem. Aquaculture projects make use of freshwater facilities at Lismore campus and open seawater system marine facilities at the National Marine Science Centre. Our research includes captive rearing of fish and invertebrate species that can be used as a basis for food security in developing nations, supplying the ornamental trade and easing pressure on wild stocks.

A key tool of fisheries management is the determination of age. While the techniques are well-established for most fish, other animals present unique problems. The giant Australian beachworm grows to over 2 metres in length and is commercially and recreationally harvested for use as bait, but until now no one knew how long the worms live. Researchers used growth rings in the worms' mandibles to determine their age and found that they live for up to 20 years and others have been studying the movements and ecology of small estuarine pufferfish. These fish also live for a surprisingly long time and show high site fidelity, returning daily to feed in the same mangrove stand. Several student research projects are being conducted in collaboration with NSW fisheries researchers including post-release health of commercial crustaceans, the success of bass restocking programs, growth of mullet species, the ecology of mangrove jack, and the movement of eel-tailed catfish.