Buchan Primary School Students release native fish into their local river

Buchan Primary School students understand the vital role their local river plays, including supporting a diverse range of plants and animals including fish.

Recently, these students participated in releasing native Southern Pygmy Perch near the newly constructed Buchan fishway, contributing to the river’s ecological health.

As well as the important fish release, the students had the opportunity to witness firsthand how fish ecologists study fish living in the river. During a demonstration, and using specialist equipment, ecologist Jackson caught several species. Measurements and sizes of the fish were noted, as was their overall well-being before being returned to the river.

The numbers and diverse species of fish monitored highlighted the vibrant and healthy aquatic environment that exists in the Buchan River. Species found included Tupong, Common Galaxias, Australian Smelt, Longfinned Eel and the endangered Cox’s Gudgeon.

East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority Chief Executive Officer, Bec Hemming said, “Finding an endangered species is very exciting, and the fact that it is utilising the fishway is highly encouraging. The ability to migrate from the estuarine reaches to the fresh water in the upper reaches is crucial for its survival.”

“Studying fish species and populations near the newly constructed fishway provides valuable insights into the types of fish successfully migrating upstream. Previously, this migration would have been more challenging due to the barrier caused by the log weir.”

As well as supporting native animals and plants the Buchan River supports many recreational activities and is a popular place for visitors. The area around the fishway is used by locals and visitors alike.

“We value the contribution by the community in maintaining the health of our waterways and seeing the kids learning and enjoying themselves in their backyard at the same time is fantastic.” Said Bec.
This project is funded as part of the Victorian Government’s $248 million investment into improving the health of waterways and catchments in regional Victoria.

Buchan Primary School students watch on as fish ecologist, Jackson, demonstrates fish monitoring.
Buchan Primary School students release Southern Pygmy Perch into the Buchan River.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past and present.