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.