10004: Halting the infestation of the aggressive freshwater fish, the pearl cichlid in the Swan River catchment

    South American pearl cichlid. Courtesy David Morgan
    South American pearl cichlid. Courtesy David Morgan

    A feral population of the highly aggressive South American pearl cichlid represents a serious ecological risk to the Swan River estuary and its freshwater tributaries. The major known breeding population of the species is potentially containable and may be able to be eradicated.

    With the help of State NRM Program funding, this project will investigate the potential benefit of installing a containment screen at the outlet of the Altone Park wetlands (the recruitment source) to prevent any future downstream movement of this or other feral species.

    But first the Swan River Trust will lead an eradication attempt in summer-autumn 2012. Sampling for the species in the wetlands immediately following control will assess whether the eradication attempt was successful.

    The project will also:

    • provide an understanding of the biology and ecology of the species
    • determine its potential impact on the Swan River and its tributaries
    • assess the population viability
    • recommend containment and eradication options of the recently reported pearl cichlid population in Ellen Brook catchment.
    Investment: $ 45 588
    Delivery organisation: Murdoch University (Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research)
    Project duration: August 2011 - September 2012
    Location: Bennett and Ellen brooks, Swan River catchment

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