The Action Plan for Australian freshwater fishes
Species recovery outline: Barred Galaxias, Brown Galaxias
Scientific name: Galaxias fuscus
English names: Barred Galaxias, Brown Galaxias
Species taxonomic status: Formally described by Mack, 1936. Frankenberg (1969), in an unpublished thesis, reviewed the taxonomy of the Galaxiidae. He placed G. fuscus as a junior synonym of G. olidus based on specimens collected well to the west of the type locality. McDowall and Frankenberg (1981) also included G. fuscus as a junior synonym of G. olidus. Electrophoretic examinations by Rich (1986) were inconclusive but determined that the taxonomic status was at least of a subspecies. Recent collections by Rudie Kuiter have revealed consistent colour and dentition differences between G. fuscus and G. olidus and Shirley (1991) showed some ecological differences.
Species survival status: Has declined over most of its range. Recent invasion of trout into new waters has reduced populations. If trout invade remaining populations, extinction is imminent.
- Action plan status: Endangered.
- Australian Society for Fish Biology status: Endangered.
- Proposed new IUCN criteria status: Critical (interaction with introduced species).
Former distribution: Distributional limits poorly known. Type locality is the Rubicon River, on the Murray-Darling Drainage, Victoria. Possibly restricted to the Goulburn River Drainage, Victoria.
Current distribution: Limited to six small streams in the upper reaches of the Goulburn River between Marysville and Mount Howitt:
- Keppel Hut Creek,
- Pheasant Creek,
- Perkins Creek,
- Taggerty River,
- Torbreck River,
- Stanleys Creek.
Habitat: Small, clear, flowing upper reaches of streams with gravel or boulder substrates in mountainous country above and below the winter snowline. Shows a preference for pools.
Reasons for decline:
- Predation by rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout (Salmo trutta);
- Habitat degradation and sedimentation from forestry and mining operations and roads may have contributed to the decline;
- At least one spill of cyanide from nearby mining operations has occurred (Rich 1986).
Conservation reserves on which species occurs: None.
Other public lands on which species occurs: State Forest.
Other land on which species occurs: Private land.
Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately? (If not provide list of additional studies required): No.
- Determine precise distribution of remaining populations.
- Clarify the taxonomic status in relation to the mountain galaxias (Galaxias olidus).
- Protect all known populations and habitats.
- Survey other habitats for unknown populations.
- Locate habitat within former range suitable for re-establishing or translocating populations.
- Establish monitoring program to monitor known populations and occurrence of trout.
Management actions already initiated:
- Some initial surveys of known populations have been undertaken. Due to inaccessibility and nature of terrain, surveying is difficult.
- Initial ecological work on the species biology.
- Listed under Schedule Two of the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. An action statement outlining intended management actions is in preparation.
- A Recovery Plan (writing research phase) is being prepared with funding from ANPWS Endangered Species Program.
Management actions required:
- Declaration of additional conservation reserves: Yes. Several populations need protection.
- Habitat management: Yes. Additional protection measures needed to reduce the risk of sedimentation and habitat damage from roads, forestry, and mining operations:
- Increased buffer strips between forestry operations and watercourses.
- Improved road drainage, perhaps with vegetative filters.
- Improved procedures to avoid toxic spills from mining operations.
- Ban on mining operations in catchments containing Barred Galaxias.
- Feral animal control: Yes.
- Removal of trout species from G. fuscus habitat.
- Construction of barriers to prevent the upstream movement of trout.
- Monitoring of streams to ensure re-invasions do not occur.
- Translocation or re-establishment of populations: Yes. Establish new populations into sites were trout do not occur (above waterfalls) or have been removed.
- Captive breeding: Possibly; may be useful if other actions fail. Need to establish biological requirements for maturation, spawning and larval rearing.
- Other: Yes.
- Education of trout anglers and organisations on the effects of trout on this species.
- Monitoring of existing populations and new invasions of trout.
Organisations responsible for conservation of species:
- Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Other organisations or individuals involved:
- Michael Shirley, University of Melbourne.
- Native Fish Australia.
Can recovery plan be carried out with existing resources?: No.
- Weir construction on Taggerty River and Pheasant Creek by the Rural Water Commission weir construction team in conjunction with biologists from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – (4 weirs at $7 000 per weir) $28 000.
- Removal of trout from known populations requires one biologist and two technicians for four weeks – $8 280, plus operating costs including chemicals, car hire and camping allowance – $7 000.
- Monitoring to determine presence of trout and the status of Barred Galaxias populations. Requires one biologist and two technicians for four weeks in the first year (two separate occasions) – $8 280 plus $4 000 vehicle hire, camping allowance and expenses, and then for two weeks annually in subsequent years – $4 140 plus $2 000 vehicle hire, camping allowance and expenses.
Total: $55 560
Annual monitoring $6 140