Wayne Koster, Dave Dawson and Tarmo Raadik from the Arthur Rylah Institute have recently undertaken a project to locate the threatened Australian Whitebait (Lovettia sealii) in the lower Tarwin River, South Gippsland, Victoria.
The species was thought to exist only in Tasmania, however, a population was discovered in 1993 on mainland Australia in the Tarwin River. This is the only known location on mainland Australia where the species is found.
Surveys using fine mesh fyke nets between August and October 2014 confirmed the species is still present in the Tarwin River system, with small numbers of fish collected in September migrating from Anderson Inlet to the upper reaches of the Tarwin River estuary to spawn. The current project aims to gather population data and identify key spawning habitats so that they can be protected.
Listed as Critically Endangered in Victoria, little is known about this tiny fish, which only lives for one year. The project is funded by the Victorian Environmental Partnerships Program, which addresses critical risks to threatened species and native vegetation throughout the state.