R. Wager and P. Jackson
Environment Australia, June 1993
ISBN 0 6421 6818 0
The approach used to determine priorities for recovery action is that proposed by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program.
Species are first categorised according to the severity and immediacy of the threat being faced; either a high, medium, or low probability of extinction within a given time. Within each threat category species are further categorised as high or low priority according to: recovery potential; genetic distinctiveness; benefit to the ecosystem of the recovery action; and economic or cultural importance to society.
The resultant score indicates priorities for recovery action within threat categories, not between categories. The cost of each Recovery Outline within a threat category is then considered. Priorities are then determined on a case by case basis. A decision may be made to conserve several species with a good chance of recovery and low cost rather than one species with little chance of recovery and a high cost. However the decision to accept extinction would only be made when no realistic recovery potential existed.
Methods for determining priority categories are described below.
Degree of threat H/M/L
High (H): high degree of threat requiring recovery action immediately to prevent extinction; Medium (M): medium threat requiring recovery action within five years; Low (L): low degree of threat for which action is required within five to ten years.
The following points are considered:
- Does a particular threat exist or is the population so small that it is vulnerable to stochastic processes?
- The magnitude and immediacy of threat, ie what is the probability of extinction within a given time frame?
- What is the current population size?
- What is the current area of species range?
- What is the rate of decline in population?
- What is the rate of decline in numbers of populations?
- What is the rate of decline in range?
- How many populations or individuals are in biologically secure areas?
Potential for recovery (regardless of cost) H/L
- Can in situ threat be controlled by reservation or technology?
- Can the species be propagated ex situ? (Are already being propagated?)
Genetic distinctiveness H\L
- Monotypic genus?
- Species, subspecies, population?
Ecosystem importance H\L
- Keystone species or major role in ecosystem function?
- Number of interrelations with other species?
- How many other species will benefit from habitat protection or control of threatening processes?
Social value H/L
- Does the species have a significant public appeal?
- Is there a conflict with a development proposal?
- Does the species have potential or realised economic value, eg for tourism?
Table 3 shows allocation for species according to the above criteria. In the table 'X' refers to the Degree of Threat (H,M or L). The highest score is HHHHH (H1) and lowest score is LLLLL (L1). The ranking is based primarily on the Degree of Threat coupled with Potential for Recovery.
|Degree of threat||Recovery potential||Genetic distinctiveness||Ecosystem importance||Social value||Score|
Note: * The degree of threat (x) may be High (H), Medium (M), or Low (L).
Table 4 lists priorities for recovery actions determined using the score allocation system outlined in Table 3.
|Dregree of threat||Recovery potential||Genetic distinctiveness||Ecosystem importance||Social value||Score|
|Elizabeth Springs Goby||H||H||H||H||L||H2|
|Clarence River Cod||H||H||L||H||H||H5|
|Mary River Cod||H||H||L||H||H||H5|
|Lake Eacham Rainbowfish||H||H||L||H||H||H5|
|Oxleyan Pygmy Perch||H||H||L||H||L||H6|
|Purple Spotted Gudgeon||H||H||L||H||L||H6|
|Yarra Pygmy Perch||M||H||L||H||L||M6|
|Ewen's Pygmy Perch||M||H||L||H||L||M6|
|Flinders Ranges Gudgeon||M||H||L||H||L||M6|
|Blind Cave Eel||L||H||H||H||L||L2|
Final prioritisation of Recovery Outlines must consider the cost of recovery actions (Table 5).
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total||Ongoing monitoring*|
|Red-finned Blue-Eye||S||S||3 020||3 020||3 020|
|Elizabeth Springs Goby||101 520||3 020||3 020||107 560||3 020|
|Clarence River Cod||597 000||197 000||197 000||991 000||0|
|Mary River Cod||S||S||5 880||5 880||5 880|
|Lake Eacham Rainbowfish||117 600||83 500||5 000||206 100||0|
|Swan Galaxias||31 440||12 880||2 440||47 760||2 440|
|Barred Galaxias||55 560||6 140||6 140||67 840||6 140|
|Clarence Galaxias||2 440||2 440||2 440||7 320||2 440|
|Oxleyan Pygmy Perch||107 500||107 500||1 000||216 000||1 000|
|Purple Spotted Gudgeon||7 000||2 000||2 000||11 000||2 000|
|Saddled Galaxias||2 440||2 440||2 440||7 320||2 440|
|Murray Hardyhead||108 500||103 500||0||212 000||0|
|Honey Blue-eye||109 500||109 500||1 000||220 000||1 000|
|Yarra Pygmy Perch and Ewen's Pygmy Perch||123 500||123 500||123 500||370 500||0|
|Flinders Ranges Gudgeon||#||#||#||#||0|
|Non-parasitic Lamprey||103 500||103 500||103 500||310 500||0|
|Australian grayling||207 000||207 000||103 500||517 500||0|
|Bland Cave Eel||93 500||93 500||0||187 000||0|
|Macquarie Perch||78 500||0||0||78 500||0|
|Swamp Galaxias||2 440||2 440||2 440||7 320||2 440|
|Dwarf Galaxias||23 380||11 720||11 720||46 820||11 720|
|Action Plan total: 3 619 940|
Taxa are listed in order of priority for recovery action (see Table 4).
* This Action Plan recommends that ongoing monitoring programs be established for Action Plan species (see General Recommendation 8). Specific funds are indicated where individual States have requested same.
S Some funding already available for these species.
# Existing resources sufficient for recovery action.
Salaries comprise a large percentage of many of the required projects. Part of these costs could come from redirecting priorities and thus using existing staff within agencies.
1. Red-finned Blue-Eye
Equal highest priority according to Table 4. Funding already provided through ANPWS, Endangered Species Program.
2. Elizabeth Springs Goby
Equal highest priority according to Table 4. Requires relatively little funding. Study of this species will assist in the understanding and protection of artesian springs and their fish communities. May become Australia's first known extinct fish if nothing done.
3. Trout Cod
Equal third on Table 4. Much work completed or in progress. Compilation of the Trout Cod Restoration Plan already being funded and will identify further funding requirements. Good chance of success because captive breeding and restocking programs already well developed.
4. Mary River Cod
Equal third on Table 4. Already funded. Queensland Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Division assisting local councils with captive breeding programs. Some restocking into impoundments within the Mary River Drainage. Translocated to several impoundments on the Brisbane, Logan and Nerang Rivers. Mary River catchment involved in an Integrated Catchment Management initiative.
5. Clarence River Cod
Equal third on Table 4. Requires a high level of funding mainly due to renovation of breeding facilities for captive breeding program. Suggest priority be given to habitat requirements as long term restocking will be ineffectual if habitat not protected. Renovation of facilities should be the responsibility of the New South Wales State Government as other programs (eg aquaculture developments) will benefit.
6. Barred Galaxias
Equal sixth on Table 4. Requires relatively low level of funding. Some information already available and chances of recovery are high. Will disappear quickly if nothing done. Is a distinct taxon so uncertainty of taxonomy not an issue for funding allocation.
7. Swan Galaxias, Saddled Galaxias, Swamp Galaxias, Clarence Galaxias, Dwarf Galaxias
If these species are combined, a relatively low budget is required for a coordinated monitoring program.
8. Purple Spotted Gudgeon
Some investigation underway. Low level of funding required to assist volunteer work.
9. Lake Eacham Rainbowfish
Initially allocate funding to determine taxonomic status. Further funding will depend on these results. Captive populations relatively secure. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Division, should develop management plan for all captive populations, including strategies for maintaining genetic diversity. Has publicity value in being the best known endangered fish in Australia.
10. Pedder Galaxias
No funding required at this stage.
11. Oxleyan Pygmy Perch and Honey Blue-eye
Combine these Recovery Plans. Have overlapping distributions, occur in similar habitats, have same threatening processes. Develop management plan to protect coastal wallum swamps and streams.
12. Yarra Pygmy Perch and Ewen's Pygmy Perch
This Action Plan proposes a joint project. Have similar habitat requirements and threatening processes. Funding requirements may be rationalised after preparation of Recovery Plans for both species.
13. Murray Hardyhead
Some controversy over status. First requirement to determine distribution and abundance. Three States involved should cooperate to manage funding and determine priorities. Many threatening processes identified for this species probably affect most other species in the Murray-Darling Drainage, and these aspects may be addressed through the Murray-Darling Basin Commission Fish Management Plan.
14. Macquarie Perch
Relatively urgent requirement to undertake taxonomic work. If indications of discrete stocks are correct then these may require urgent recovery action.
15. Non-parasitic Lamprey
Low priority. First priority to determine present distribution. Could become part of New South Wales' and Victoria's own fish surveys. States should also develop long term monitoring programs.
16. Blind cave Eel
Priority to maintenance or rehabilitation of existing known sites. Already being done to some extent. Additional information to be obtained from W. Humphries field surveys (Australian Heritage Commission funding). May be combined with studies of subterranean invertebrate fauna or general ecology studies with part funding from ANPWS.
17. Australian Grayling
Three State project. States should liaise to effectively manage funds. Processes threatening Australian Grayling are common to many fishes (eg lack of fish-ladders).
18. Flinders Gudgeon
No action required. South Australian Fisheries monitoring status.
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