Technical report – NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub (July 2015 to June 2021)

File type: PDF

Jemina Stuart Smith, Tim Lynch, Felicity McEnnulty, Mark Green, Carlie Devine, Andrew Trotter, Tyson Bessell, Lincoln Wong, Paul Hale, Andrew Martini, Rick Stuart-Smith, Neville Barrett (2021). Conservation of handfishes and their habitats – final report 2020. Report to the National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub. University of Tasmania.


This final report covers conservation work for red and spotted handfishes during 2019-2020. For red handfish this includes monitoring of juveniles in the wild immediately after their release following captive-rearing. Juveniles were recorded on all three monitoring surveys post release, indicating initial success of this conservation strategy to bolster wild population numbers. This report includes investigation into sex-determination in adults using morphometrics and found a lack of clear separation between males and females, indicating that focus should be on other methods for non-destructive sex determination. 

For spotted handfish this report includes population dynamics from 22 years of monitoring and found that within the Derwent estuary, both genomics and population dynamics suggest a well-structured population, with local populations acting in isolation from each other, or small groups. There had been an overall decline in the Derwent estuary’s Spotted handfish population.

Type of publication Technical report
Year of publication 2021