Victoria's coastal aquatic systems encompass all rivers, estuaries and wetlands south of the Great Dividing Range. These environments play a vital role in the social, economic and environmental health of the state. To improve the management of native fish, large decapod crustaceans and large bivalve molluscs in these systems, a suite of resources have recently been released. These include a published management guide, an on-line decision-support tool, and educational materials. These resources have been designed to assist local natural resource managers with various aspects of fish management, and to increase awareness and understanding of fish ecology, habitat needs and impacts of threatening processes. The development of these products was funded by the National Heritage Trust.

The 'Guide to the Management of Native Fish: Victorian Coastal Rivers and Wetlands' provides information on fish biology and habitat requirements for native fish that occur in the coastal catchments of Glenelg Hopkins, Corangamite, Port Phillip, Western Port, West Gippsland and East Gippsland. It outlines how various threats to river health may impact on particular species and will link closely with the existing implementation of regional River Health Strategies. Broad recommendations are provided on how to set priorities and make informed decisions about native fish management.

FAST (Fish Assessment Support Tool) is a web-based decision-support tool to help managers to more effectively consider fish requirements within existing and future river protection and rehabilitation programs. The educational materials include 15 stickers featuring 10 significant freshwater and estuarine fish species, and five important habitats. There are also six fact sheets outlining key habitat features and issues important to coastal native fish. Three posters highlight over 50 important freshwater, estuarine fish and crayfish species and include distributional maps, information on altitudinal zones, habitats, recreational and cultural values, threatened status, spawning calendars, and up and downstream movement of larvae, juveniles and adults. The crayfish poster also includes some key features to distinguish terrestrial, aquatic and semi-aquatic crays.

The Australian Grayling is threatened by instream barriers to migration and alterations to flow regimes

A Black Bream - an estuarine species found throughout coastal Victoria and a popular angling fish (Photo: Rudi Kuiter)