Maintaining genetic diversity is critical to species and ecosystem resilience, particularly in the face of changing environmental conditions. Despite the explicit recognition within legislation that genetic diversity is a key component of biodiversity, until now there remains no consistent or practical guidelines for the management of these resources.
This report provides guidance and resources for the management of genetic resources within the Murray-Darling Basin and will contribute to consistent management across the Basin.

Findings:

This report provides a resource document for natural resource managers and scientists and includes:

  • A review of current genetic issues and management practices across the Basin
  • A review of the genetic structuring for native fish and crustacean species in the Basin including knowledge gaps
  • Guidelines and recommendations for genetic management within the Basin
  • A genetic management template for fish stocking
  • Recommendations from the Management of Genetic Resources for Fish and Crustaceans in the Murray-Darling Basin workshop

This report reviews available data on genetic subdivision for 65 fish and crustacean species across the Murray-Darling Basin and discusses the management for these species. This review highlighted significant genetic differences between populations of native fish and crustaceans within the Basin. These genetically different populations potentially contain unique evolutionary heritage that will require specific approaches to manage.

Sampling locations for genetic work and probably population boundaries for Golden perch
Sampling locations for genetic work and probably population boundaries for Golden perch

 

Sampling locations for genetic work and probably population boundaries for Murray cod.
Sampling locations for genetic work and probably population boundaries for Murray cod

Key messages:

  • Populations that are defined as distinct genetic management units should be treated as unique populations with limited transfer of individuals between units.
  • The information contained within this report should be used to develop a unified approach to the management of genetic diversity within the Basin.
  • There are lots of knowledge gaps for species with insufficient genetic data (outlined in species profiles) and such knowledge would allow the identification of genetic management units for the Basin.
  • Adequate stocking and hatchery genetic protocols should be adhered to for all breeding programs within the Basin.

Read more here – Management of genetic resources within the Murray-Darling Basin

Related Projects:

Impacts of native fish stocking on fish within the Murray-Darling Basin

Taking stock – does fish stocking really enhance our fisheries?