Review of Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the SRA Macroinvertebrate and Fish Themes Phase I - M/BUS/114 XE199
MDFRC Technical Report
1 of 2 reports associated with project see (Review of Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the SRA Macroinvertebrate Theme).
A review of Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures for the 'Fish' component of the Murray–Darling Basin Commission's Sustainable Rivers Audit was undertaken by the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre between May 2006 and May 2007. There were two phases to the review: interviews with program leaders of Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) sampling in each state, and field visits to teams actively sampling. Both phases of the QA/QC procedures review provided a valuable insight into several key areas of SRA fish sampling including adherence to the Australian Code of Electrofishing Practice, sampling site validation, selection of sampling methods, sampling procedure and strategy, fish identification and abnormalities, and data entry. The review was primarily interested in identifying areas of variation among sampling teams and evaluating this variation in terms of sampling effort consistency. There was a high level of consistency among state agencies with their interpretation and application of the SRA fish sampling protocols. Other positive outcomes included the apparent diligence of sampling teams, their adherence to and understanding of the SRA protocols, and the adoption of these protocols into other projects. There were, however, some differences among state agencies which may affect sampling consistency among teams and with future sampling events. The following recommendations should further reduce variations among sampling teams and ensure consistency with future sampling events: 1. All states conduct (or attend) some form of SRA training workshop prior to each sampling season. This is relevant to all staff, as new SRA staff can be trained and current staff can be briefed on updated protocols. 2. Sampling continues to be undertaken by SRA-trained staff in each state. All sampling teams led by SRA-dedicated staff. 3. Produce laminated MDB fish guides for use in the field. The guide or key should include pictures of all taxa, a brief description of key diagnostic features, and pictures and descriptions of abnormalities. 4. All states photograph (digital) live specimens of potentially confusing taxa in the field. 5. Develop comprehensive guidelines for bait trap placement. 6. Standardise methods for checking and recording fish abnormalities. 7. Develop guidelines for handling exotic species. 8. Assess the difference between backpack electrofishing with or without mesh on the anode ring.9. It is recommended that SRA sampling by the SARDI team be formerly assessed. 10. The minutes of TRG meetings should be circulated within two weeks of meetings, and updated protocols should be distributed to sampling teams as early as possible.