AFTER the painstaking eradication of thousands of eel-tailed catfish and gobs of aquatic weed from Lake Marmion, native fish have finally been reintroduced to the Myaree lake.
Catfish had overrun the lake, crowding out wildlife, spreading disease and stirring up mud that ruins vegetation.
Native oblonga turtles had to be relocated to keep them safe, and the lake had to be drained so the flopping catfish could be pulled out by hand and all the pesky salvinia molesta weed removed.
On Thursday June 4, WA fisheries minister Ken Baston announced native western pygmy perch and western minnow had been restocked, part of a trial project to see if it’ll work in other urban lakes.
The catfish pulled out of the lake were also in poor nick: 4000 were infected with an organism that causes red spot disease, a fungus-caused ailment mainly associated with acid water run-off, especially as the first rains hit after a dry spell and wash gunk into the wetlands.
The WA government worked with the Melville city council and the Turtle Oblonga Rescue and Rehabilitation Network to pull off the project, and now local schools, the nearby retirement home and the Myaree community are getting on board to form a “guardians of the lake” group to watch over it and discourage people from dumping any more pest fish in there.
Melville council reckons the catfish bred from just a handful dumped there, quickly multiplying into the thousands that overtook the ecosystem. The salvinia spread across the entire surface, blocking sunlight and removing oxygen from the water.
The council says if you don’t want your fish you should sell or donate them (if they’re sick head to kb.rspca.org.au to find out about humane disposal). Dumping them into drains leads straight to the waterways.
by DAVID BELL