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Aphanius iberus

Home Forums Field Trips & Conservation Aphanius iberus

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Matt 8 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #299977

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ahem…I’ve been meaning to post this for ages but have never got around to resizing the pics before now. Here’s a link with a bit more info for those interested.

    At this point I should say that although the reserve is open to the general public access is restricted to a few paths/hides for watching the birds and we had to apply for special documentation to get inside and dip our nets. This involved submitting identity documents (passport in my case) and as this is Spain a wait of an hour or two to get hold of the correct key for the security gates!

    Manuel and Roberto taking water parameters:

    Values here were as follows; Temp. 23°C, Conductivity <20.000 µS, pH 8.3, Salinity 42g/l.
    As predicted we didn’t find any Aphanius here; the only fish present were some of the biggest Gambusia I’ve ever seen:

    There were loads and loads of these around the margins of the lagoon. This is a typical catch:

    The only other things we caught here were masses of tiny shrimp (Palaemonetes zariquieyi) and a large crab:

    Attached files

    #311974

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Location 2; Laguna de la Ricarda is a larger lagoon just up the beach from location 1. Water parameters were Temp. 21°C, Conductivity 1.130 µS, pH 7.8, Salinity 5 g/l. This is the place:

    As we expected there were no Aphanius here either. Gambusia and Palaemonetes were again present in large numbers and Roberto netted another invasive species; a young Lepomis gibbosus. This predatory fish was introduced from North America and is also known as the pumpkinseed.

    Onto location 3, Laguna de Ca L’Arana. This lagoon was only created recently via the diversion of some of the River Llobregat’s flow. Water parameters Temp. 23°C, Conductivity 20.000 µS, pH 8.3, Salinity 23 g/l. In the first of these two pictures you can see how close the reserve is to building developments and in the second the Mediterranean (the strip of water to the right). Roberto told me that the lagoon is sometimes inundated with seawater during bad weather:

    The only fish caught in the lagoon itself were several specimens of this cute little goby Pomatoschistus microps:

    Manuel was quite excited about this site as a possible reintroduction point for Aphanius iberus due to the lack of invasive species and shallow vegetated margins. The only Gambusia seen here were restricted to this small freshwater channel feeding the lagoon:

    Attached files

    #311975

    Matt
    Keymaster

    After a fine lunch of local meats and beer (what more does a man need? /wacko.gif” style=”vertical-align:middle” emoid=”:wacko:” border=”0″ alt=”wacko.gif” /> The lagoon is absolutely tiny:

    This second lagoon connects to the other via a small channel but we didn’t find any Aphanius here. You can see the proximity of the location to Barcelona airport:

    We fished the lagoon for a couple of hours and quickly realised the situation for our target species was even worse than we’d imagined. The place was absolutely swarming with Gambusia. Each dip of the net was turning up maybe 10 or 20 of the little buggers:

    The dashing chap at the front of this pic is yours truly I’m afraid.

    In almost 2 hours we must have caught thousands of Gambusia and only managed 14 Aphanius. Worse, all of the fish appeared quite young and only 4 of them were female.

    Manuel and the guys said that the numbers of Aphanius found here are dwindling year on year and that this was the worst state they’d ever seen the population in. Depressing news and from what I saw there just seems to be no hope that the species can survive long term in this particular locality. The “conservation programme” appeared to consist of restricting access to the site and erecting a couple of signs which is all well and good but if nothing is being done to protect the fish from the Gambusia threat then what is actually being achieved here? We had permission to remove a few specimens so the ones in the pic above travelled back to Zaragoza with Manuel where they will be added to the breeding programme I’ve covered elsewhere on the forum but unfortunately I don’t think this population stands any chance of survival unless drastic action is taken.

    Well that’s it. Hope some of you found this interesting reading and thanks once again to the boys for giving me the opportunity to join them on this trip and putting up with my pidgin Spanish. Estoy mejerando chicos, prometo!!

    Attached files

    #311977

    oaken
    Participant

    Nice pictures. Are there any more locations besides Laguna del Remolar where they can be found?

    #311979

    Bluedave
    Participant

    Great thread Matt, really interesting.

    Is there nothing that can be done about the ‘conservation programme’?

    #311989

    thelizzious
    Member

    QUOTE (Bluedave @ Jan 9 2009, 10:59 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Great thread Matt, really interesting.

    Is there nothing that can be done about the ‘conservation programme’?

    Matt, do we know how these conservation programmes work in other countries, like the UK?

    #311992

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Thanks guys. /sad.gif” style=”vertical-align:middle” emoid=”:(” border=”0″ alt=”sad.gif” />

    Dave we’ll have to wait for Manuel for further comments on the conservation programme; the stuff I wrote above is just my opinion based on what I saw that day. You would hope that something could be done but its difficult to identify potential options. How to remove thousands of Gambusia from the lagoon without harming the Aphanius?

    Liz in my experience the level of conservation programmes tends to vary depending on the species. Small fish such as this often tend to be towards the bottom of the priority list unfortunately.

    Attached files

    #311997

    keith565
    Participant

    very interesting write up Matt, but depressing. although i’m a fan of gambusia, i hate to think they will be the main cause for the decline or even extinction of Aphanius Iberus.
    lets hope the spanish government realise what they would loose if this were to happen.

    #311998

    thelizzious
    Member

    Or hit them with something like this : http://www.thepetitionsite.com/browse-petitions, just to let them know we’re not just another fish-geek-website doing nothing while even the smallest parts of the food chain in our waters gets lost, because which species will come next. Eventually the whole chain will collaps like a cardhouse..

    #312015

    Matt
    Keymaster

    That’s actually not a bad idea Liz.

    #312016

    thelizzious
    Member

    QUOTE (Matt @ Jan 14 2009, 10:17 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
    That’s actually not a bad idea Liz. http://resources.metapress.com/pdf-preview…amp;size=larger

    #312028

    keith565
    Participant

    can’t get the link to work.

    #312038

    Matt
    Keymaster

    You have mail Keith mate.

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