Local research organization, Aqua Research & Monitoring Services (ARMS), have been conducting marine science projects around Rottnest for several years, including Grey Nurse Shark studies, a long-term temperature monitoring programme, and surveys of fish that have now resulted in The Rottnest Island Fish Book, published in August 2017.
“Partners in ARMS” Dr Glen Whisson and Alexandra Hoschke co-authored The Rottnest Island Fish Book, which contains over 400 colour photographs, and is the most comprehensive fish guide ever produced for Rottnest Island.
Glen and Alex say that their inspiration for the book was Dr Barry Hutchins, who pioneered the documentation of fish fauna at Rottnest Island more than 40 years ago. “Having now spent many hundreds of hours in this pursuit, we are amazed at Dr Hutchins’ foresight, commitment and often single-handed endeavours to record the fishes of Rottnest Island. Engaging with him has been a highlight of this project.”
The aims of the Rottnest Island Fish Book are to:
· provide an inexpensive, high quality fish identification resource for snorkellers, divers and fishers using photographs taken at Rottnest and nearby waters;
· include basic fishing information that relates to the common species found around the Island. This approach is in keeping with the ‘lifestyle’ theme of this publication—encouraging a sustainable, safe, enjoyable and healthy fishing experience for visitors;
· document the current diversity of fishes at Rottnest. Owing to the influence of the Leeuwin Current, the fish fauna at Rottnest includes an interesting mix of tropical species. As ocean temperatures change it will be important to record the fluctuating diversity of fish species found here, along with any evidence that they may be establishing breeding populations.
Glen and Alex were excited to be joined by Dr Glenn Moore, Curator of Fishes, WA Museum, for the section of the book that includes a paper titled the Complete List of Fishes from Rottnest Island, which is a complete list of all fish records verified from Rottnest. The list included the latest confirmed sighting of each fish species, with the oldest confirmed record being 1905. There are a staggering 438 species included in the list, which represents 117 fish families. More than half of all the records are verified photographs taken by Alex and Glen, which appear in the Rottnest Island Fish Book.
The Rottnest Island Fish Book will be an excellent resource for visitors who wish to engage with the stunning marine environment through snorkelling, fishing or diving. It is packed with information, including fishing advice and cooking tips, snorkelling maps of several beautiful bays, feature articles about Rottnest’s unique marine life, and an identification section describing the key features of all the fish species likely to be encountered around Rottnest Island.
The Rottnest Island Fish Book is available at the Visitor’s Centre near the Main Jetty. Contact the Visitor Centre on (08) 9372 9730.