(Little) man on a mission

Published 18 Oct 2016 
about  Yourka Reserve  
Seeley Hales with one of the fish traps donated by ANGFA<br/> Seeley Hales with one of the fish traps donated by ANGFA
Carefully checking the catch. Native species go straight back in the billabong. Feral species go on ice.<br/> Carefully checking the catch. Native species go straight back in the billabong. Feral species go on ice.
A tiny dragonfly nymph is always a fun find.<br/> A tiny dragonfly nymph is always a fun find.
It's all business pulling in the trap.<br/> It's all business pulling in the trap.
A small crowd (the Dunn Family, Yourka Family Camp 2016) assemble for the first translocation of Sooty Grunter.<br/> A small crowd (the Dunn Family, Yourka Family Camp 2016) assemble for the first translocation of Sooty Grunter.

The billabongs of Sunday Creek valley are a well-known feature of Yourka Reserve in far north Queensland, so when our friends from the Australian and New Guinea Fishes Association (​ANGFA) recently told us that there were feral fish present in the one below the Yourka shed, we were a bit disappointed.

During recent surveys conducted by the state government's Environment Heritage and Protection​ staff, plus ANGFA volunteers, the waterways of Sunday and Cameron Creek were found to be in excellent health with large native populations and good in-stream cover. But the shed billabong looks to be a trouble spot that’s going to need a little help to restore the natural balance.

Our son, Seeley, took particular interest in these findings and immediately took up the challenge. (He’s definitely a fish-nerd in the making.) The kind folks at ANGFA left us a few fish traps so that our children, as well as other visitors, could also observe and appreciate the aquatic species on the reserve. They also left us with some advice on how to improve the health of the shed billabong.

Seeley’s plan is this:

  • Trap and remove the pest fish… one fish trap at a time
  • Relocate Sooty Grunter from another Yourka waterhole into the billabong and reinstate a top predator.

So, will the project be successful? Weeeeeell... it’s certainly going to take a long-term commitment.

But, you know what, a hands-on project that teaches the concepts of ecological balance, pest management, species identification and animal ethics…not to mention the important skills of patience and persistence to a little boy of six… is already a success in my book!

Head to the Bush Heritage Facebook page to see what else the real fish-nerds experts found at Yourka and enjoy their stunning photo record of the trip.

Carefully checking the catch. Native species go straight back in the billabong. Feral species go on ice.<br/> Carefully checking the catch. Native species go straight back in the billabong. Feral species go on ice.
A tiny dragonfly nymph is always a fun find.<br/> A tiny dragonfly nymph is always a fun find.
It's all business pulling in the trap.<br/> It's all business pulling in the trap.
A small crowd (the Dunn Family, Yourka Family Camp 2016) assemble for the first translocation of Sooty Grunter.<br/> A small crowd (the Dunn Family, Yourka Family Camp 2016) assemble for the first translocation of Sooty Grunter.