Field-based science catches on with young

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Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

High School students joined Geocatch and Murdoch scientists at the Vasse surge barrier last week to catch and tag fish for research purposes.

Georgiana Molloy Anglican and Busselton Senior High School Students cast their lines into the river to catch black breams and sea mullet, two species which have experienced mass fish kills in the past.

GMAS Year 8 student Jack Collins said fishing was one of his favourite hobbies and he was proud to help monitor local waterways. “Tagging the fish is important to see where they’re going and record that data to monitor the health of the estuary and its fish,” he said.

Murdoch senior researcher Steve Beatty said the exercise would hopefully increase the understanding of various species in waterways and prevent fish kills in the future.

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“By catching and tagging these fish we can detect when they’re coming in and out of the river past the surge barrier,” he said.

“It’s really great to see kids getting in and fishing, mostly because they’re much better at doing so than scientists.”

Mr Beatty said the experience was also significant in giving students a taste of research and science in the field.

“A lot of kids think of science as lab-based stuff, but if we engage them like this on the field we might inspire future scientists who could do great work right here,” he said.

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