Media release - Floodwaters not wasted

Friday 22 February 2008

Floods may be bad news for people living on floodplains, but in rivers and coastal fisheries they are essential natural events that boost populations of our favourite fish and seafood.

‘When SE Queensland’s dams spill over, sending large river flows out to the Queensland coast, you can look forward to bigger catches of prawns, crabs and fish there, later’, said Professor Gary Jones. Speaking at the annual staff conference at Surfers Paradise yesterday, Professor Jones, the CEO of eWater Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said that floods going out to sea are certainly not a waste of water. ‘Even in far western Queensland when the inland rivers run after heavy rain and flooding, the fish population booms’, he said. ‘Scientists working with eWater CRC and Griffth University’s Australian Rivers Institute, routinely collect over 1000 individual fishes per net when inland waterholes have been recently flooded ― more than five times the usual catch in these pools.’ In the Georgina and Mulligan rivers, for example, the scientists find fish migrate up to 300 km to breed in these refreshed waterhole habitats. ‘It’s easy to forget that a short time ago inland rivers were dry except for a few refuge waterholes’, said Dr Nick Bond, of eWater CRC and Melbourne’s Monash University, speaking at the same conference. ‘During long drought, fish and other freshwater animals in waterholes put breeding ‘‘on hold’’, and even perish, until the waters are refreshed by storms or an environmental flow’, he said. It’s definitely important not to waste water ― but these scientists agree that, to the environment, floodwaters are definitely not a waste! [ends] For interview: Professor Gary Jones; Dr Nick Bond 03 9905 5606

For more information, please contact:

Name: Professor Gary Jones
Phone: 02 6201 5167
Email: [email protected]