Fisheries Queensland to investigate mangrove die-offs in Gulf of Carpentaria

Image: Fisheries Queensland

QUEENSLAND’S Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has invested $95,000 for mapping and analysis to better understand the extent of large-scale mangrove dieback in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Fisheries Queensland Director of Assessment and Monitoring Eddie Jebreen said mangroves are critical fish habitat for many important species like mangrove jack, barramundi and mud crabs.

“It is important that we understand the extent of the mangrove dieback and what it may mean for the sustainability and management of those fish stocks in the Gulf of Carpentaria,” Jebreen said.

The extensive dieback of mangroves along the coastline between Karumba and Burketown is one of the most significant ever seen and it happened at the same time as the mass-bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Northern Territory has also seen large scale mangrove kills on the western side of the Gulf.

Mr Jebreen said the dieback is believed to be a result of environmental conditions, most likely a combination of low rainfall, high temperatures and hyper-saline conditions.

“The region’s remoteness means that assessing the extent of the dieback at a fine scale has been difficult, however, this has now be made possible by funding for fine scale Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) mapping,” he said.

LIDAR is a remote sensing method which generates precise, three dimensional information about the shape of the earth and its surface characteristics.

This work will feed into other complementary projects exploring the causes of the dieback and considering what the impact of future climate scenarios may be.

More information can be found on the Fisheries Queensland website.

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