The City of Canning undertakes feral pest management to help control environmentally-damaging animals in natural areas.
The City's most problematic pest animals include foxes, feral and stray cats, rabbits, feral bees and fish species in our waterways.
Foxes and feral cats prey on local wildlife such as local birds, small mammals, small lizards, and frogs while rabbits degrade bushland areas by preventing the regeneration and establishment of native vegetation through grazing.
Feral bees cause the displacement of the City’s native birds and bees by occupying nesting hollows with their hives. You can help by notifying the City if you observe a feral pest or beehive in your area.
Feral Fish Management
The City of Canning and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development - DPIRD have been working together to reduce the feral population of pearl cichilds in Bannister Creek.
Pearl cichlids are an exotic species, native to South America and a popular aquarium fish, however feral populations have been found in our waterways.
Bannister Creek is an important tributary to the Canning River system, and the team is targeting the pearl cichlid due to its ability to quickly dominate and displace WA fresh water species.
Within Western Australia, these fish have only been reported from a few lakes and wetlands, and in the Bennett Brook, Swan River and Canning River systems (including Bannister Creek and Bickley Brook), however given their invasive nature, including a high tolerance to salinity, they are expected to spread rapidly.
They are a resilient species that thrives in both riverine and wetland habitats; are tolerant of a range of water temperature (10-30 degrees) and salinity equivalent to seawater (i.e. up to 36 ppt). This tolerance has enabled them to spread into other systems in the Swan-Canning catchment.
In Western Australia, they spawn from late spring through to early winter, reported to produce clutches of around 150-200 offspring.
The pearl cichilds feed predominantly on vegetation and detritus, however terrestrial invertebrates (insects and small native crayfish) become targeted more as fish reach larger sizes.
They often feed by sifting organisms from the substrate, and are often called 'pearl eartheaters' due to this behaviour). They are known to predate on, and compete with, native species and are thus a threat to the native ecosystems in which they invade.
Due to the reslience of this species, it is very difficult to eliminate this pest once established in an area. The only effective management is prevention; educating people to not release them into the wild; and early intervention.
The City of Canning Natural Areas team will undertake trapping when identified and remove the fish opportunistically when capital works are undertaken by the Water Corporation or other state government agencies.
On 1 June, 2021 team set up fyke nets in the creek, which were donated by the Harry Butler Institute at Murdoch University while the Bannister Creek Catchment Group assisted with the placement and set up of the nets. Local group SERCUL are assisting with reviewing the catch, as well as removing the nets and documenting project outcomes.
If you see the species in an area, please contact Fisheries 1800 815 507 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other useful links
Freshwater Fish Group - backround on feral fish
Department of Water and Environment Regulation (DWER) - information on pearl cichilds