As some of you may know, I've been a member of this site for a while, lately I haven't been posting as much due to uni work I've had. Luckily, this work has paid off and I finally get to do Marine research. For this project, I am part of a much larger team at Macquarie University looking at parasites. The study will conclude on the 30th october. These may threaten our fish in the future, so any help is appreciated. Whether you catch many fish or few fish, parasite infested or parasite free fish, you can help out!
What are we looking at?
As human impacts on our oceans increase, stress levels in fish will increase. Increased stress will make them more susceptible to parasites. This makes understanding what species of parasite inhabit the fish of the Sydney region essential.
We are looking at some of the following things:
· Incidence: what percentage of the fish in a population are affected?
· Which species of parasite inhabit which species of fish?
· Does the size of the fish affect the parasites occupying it?
· Is there difference in parasite numbers between different systems (Harbour/Hawkesbury)?
What you can do to help
Whenever you go out fishing, record what you catch in one of the attached forms, and collect any visible parasites. Taking photos of parasites in fish can also be helpful.
· Print and fill out the attached form Parasite Data Sheet.docx, example forms have been provided. The top table should contain your total catch, while the bottom is just for fish with parasites.
· When filling out the total catch table, include the lengths of all fish caught in the fish lengths column. For example, if you catch 3 bream in middle harbour 21, 25, 26cms long, the first row should read: yellowfin bream | 21, 25, 26 | middle harbor. If you move and catch them at a new location, you can start a new row. Any fish that have parasites should be included both in the total catch and in the parasite data tables.
· When filling out the parasite data table, parasite count refers to how many parasites were in the fish (and therefore how many are in the bag). The “parasite location in fish” refers to where in the fish the parasite was, eg, in the mouth, on the gills, in the stomach, etc.
· Even if you don't catch a single fish with a parasite, fill out and send in the form, it is just as important to know what fish parasite don’t live in as it is to know which fish they do.
· Any parasites noticed on the fish should be collected and placed into a ziplock bag. The ziplock bag should be numbered (1-13 according to the number in the “bag number” column on the form). If one fish has multiple parasites, place them all in the same bag. In some cases, such as the tongue eating parasite found commonly in yellowtail, there may be many small parasites living behind the large female, collecting all the males will improve the results of the study.
F FORM: Parasite Data Sheet.docx
Completed forms can be sent to me via email or fishraider account if there are no accompanying sample bags. If parasites have been collected, I will be collecting the samples and the form, I am happy to drive to pick them up, you can contact me by email, phone or on fishraider to organise this.
Parasites can be carefully removed with pliers from the mouth or gills area of live fish and the fish can still be released fine. I have included pictures of common parasites to give examples of what to look for.
If you have any questions about the study, how you can participate or need any assistance with filling out the forms, extracting parasites, etc, feel free to contact me at any time. I do plan to keep participating anglers updated on the results of the study as it progresses as well as how their samples are contributing.
Fishraider account: Tag117
Thanks a lot for the time,