This record provides an overview of the scope and research output of NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project A10 - "Conservation of handfish and their habitat". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata.
Spotted and red handfish are critically endangered.
Prior to 2019, this project commenced a scientifically robust monitoring program to track conservation trajectories and performance of recovery plan actions across all known sub-populations of Spotted Handfish. An innovative geo-reference photographic method provided both capture-mark-recapture information and sub-population fish densities as a proxy for abundance. Collecting this data was a crucial first step for a future project of targeted placement of artificial spawning habitat (ASH) and to determine minimum population size to inform sustainable capture of brood-stock for captive breeding.
From 2019-2020, the project was extended to include Red Handfish. In accordance with the signed Handfish Recovery Plan, this project will conserve Red and Spotted Handfish through various direct conservation actions guided by research. This includes replanting of the degraded plastic artificial spawning habitats (ASH) with a re-designed array of ceramic units, assessment of taut eco-friendly moorings in critical spotted handfish habitat, genetic and capture mark recapture studies for both species, a population viability analysis (PVA) and performance assessment of management actions. The project will also continue a captive breeding project with industry, and engage with the broader community through talks, outreach and publications and re-establishment of the handfish recovery team.
Maintenance and Update Frequency: asNeeded
Tim Lynch (CSIRO), Lincoln Wong (CSIRO), Neville Barrett (UTAS), Mark Green (CSIRO), Scott Foster (CSIRO), Carlie Devine (CSIRO), Claire Davies (CSIRO), Curt Chalk (CSIRO), Cassie Schwanger (CSIRO), David Flynn (CSIRO)
National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Marine Biodiversity Hub
Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Government
In addition to NESP (DoE) funding, this project is matched by an equivalent amount of in-kind support and co-investment from project partners and collaborators.
This project builds on previous studies to develop new methods to aid handfish recovery and provides a pathway to recovery through tangible on-ground actions. This project provides a critical step for both addressing and assessing multiple actions within the recovery plan.