BOYS, Craig

Craig Boys

Research interests

  • Freshwater and estuarine fish ecology
  • Rehabilitation science
  • Fish passage
  • Eco-hydraulics
  • Fish screens
  • ‘Fish friendly’ river infrastructure design.
  • Fish disease


Craig is a fish ecologist based at the Port Stephens Fisheries Institute  where he leads a variety of projects concerning the rehabilitation of both  freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. Much of his science is interdisciplinary,  merging fish biology, ecology and hydraulics in an attempt to improve the design  and operation of river infrastructure for the protection of fish. Recent  research projects have included understanding and mitigating the impacts of barotrauma  and fluid shear on fish as they migrate downstream through irrigation and  hydropower infrastructure. He has also worked extensively on developing design  criteria for screens to prevent the entrainment of fish at irrigation  diversions. Craig also coordinates a number of projects assessing the outcomes  of river habitat restoration and improving the tidal flushing of estuarine  wetlands. He is actively involved in international aid research, leading fish  passage projects in the Mekong   River Basin and  participating in international efforts as a representative of the International  Energy Agency Fish and Hydropower Annex. He supervises a number of post  graduate students at various universities.

*NSW Department of Primary Industries was formed on July 1, 2004 through  an amalgamation of NSW Agriculture, NSW Fisheries, State Forests  of NSW and the NSW Department of Mineral Resources.


  • PhD in Applied Science, University of Canberra. (2007)
  • Hons in Bachelor of Science, Zoology major, University of NSW. (1998)

Current projects

  • Determining the hydraulic tolerances of Australian fish passing irrigation and hydropower infrastructure in NSW;
  • Developing and evaluating fish screen criteria for irrigation diversions;
  • Monitoring fish and crustacean responses to improved tidal flushing in estuarine wetlands;
  • Developing ‘fish-friendly’ design criteria for the protection of downstream migrating fish at irrigation and mini-hydropower infrastructure in the Lower Mekong and Murray-Darling Basins;
  • Understanding the linkage between wetland rehabilitation and the production of Eastern King Prawns;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of river rehabilitation in Murray-Darling Basin ‘Demonstration Reaches’.

Recent publications

Journal papers

Brown, R. S., Colotelo, A.  H., Pflugrath, B. D., Boys, C. A., Baumgartner, L. J., Deng, Z., Silva, L. G.  M., Brauner, C. J., Mallen-Cooper, M., Phonekhampeng, O., Thorncraft, G. and  Singhanouvong, D. (in press).   Understanding barotrauma in fish passing hydro structures:  a global strategy for sustainable development  of water resources. Fisheries.

Lowry, M., Folpp, H.,  Glasby, T., Boys, C., Gregson, M. and Suthers, I.  (2013).  Response of fish communities to  the deployment of estuarine artificial reefs for fisheries enhancement. Fisheries Management and Ecology. doi: 10.1111/fme.12048.

Boys, C. A., Baumgartner, L.  J. and Lowry, M. (2013).  Entrainment and  impingement of juvenile silver perch, Bidyanus  bidyanus, and golden perch, Macquaria  ambigua, at a fish screen: effect of velocity and light. Fisheries Management and Ecology 20: 362-373.

Boys, C. A., Robinson, W.,  Baumgartner, L. J., Rampano, B. and Lowry, M. (2013).  Influence of approach velocity and mesh size  on the entrainment and contact of a lowland river fish assemblage at a screened  irrigation pump. PLoS ONE 8:  e67026.

Thorncraft, G., Baumgartner, L., Boys, C. and Brown,  R. (2013).  Merging hydraulics with  biology. International Water Power &  Dam Construction 65: 42-43

Baumgartner, L. J. and Boys,  C. (2012).  Reducing the perversion of  diversion: Applying world standard fish screening practices to the Murray-Darling Basin. Ecological Management & Restoration 13:  135–143.

Baumgartner, L. J., Boys, C.  A. and Barton, R. (2012).  Mini hydro  development workshop: developing sustainable solutions for native fish. Ecological Management & Restoration 13:  doi:10.111/j.1442-8903.2012.00671.x.

Boys, C. A., Kroon, F. J.,  Glasby, T. and Wilkinson, K. (2012).   Improved fish and crustacean passage in tidal creeks following floodgate  remediation. Journal of Applied Ecology 49:  223-233.

Boys, C. A., Rowland, S. J.,  Gabor, M., Gabor, L., Marsh, I. B., Hum, S.  and Callinan, R. (2012).  Emergence of  epizootic ulcerative syndrome in native fish of the Murray-Darling  River system, Australia:  Hosts, distribution and possible vectors. PLoS  ONE 7: e35568.

Boys, C. A. and Williams, R.  J. (2012).  Succession of fish and  crustacean assemblages following reinstatement of tidal flow in a temperate  coastal wetland. Ecological Engineering.

Go, J., Marsh, I., Gabor, M., Saunders, V., Reece, R., Frances, J.,  Boys, C. and Gabor, L. J. (2012).   Detection of Aphanomyces invadans and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in  the Murray-Darling drainage. Australian  Veterinary Journal 90: 513-514.

Southwell, M. R., Thoms, M.  C. and Boys, C. A. (2009).  The potential  effect of re-snagging on hydraulic habitat. International  Association of Hydrological Sciences 328: 103-111.

Boys, C. A. and Thoms, M. C.  (2006).  A large-scale, hierarchical  approach for assessing habitat associations of fish assemblages in large  dryland rivers. Hydrobiologia 572:  11-31.

Technical Reports

Boys, C. A., Baumgartner,  L., Miller, B., Deng, Z. D., Brown, R. and Pflugrath, B. (2013).  Protecting  downstream migrating fish at mini hydropower and other river infrastructure.  Fisheries Final Report Series No. 137. NSW Department of Primary Industries,  Cronulla, 93 pp.

Boys, C. A., Southwell, M.,  Thoms, M. C., Fowler, A. C., Thiebaud, I.,  Alexander, T. and Reilly, G. (2013).  Evaluation of Aquatic Rehabilitation in the  Bourke to Brewarrina Demonstration Reach, Barwon-Darling    River, Australia.  Fisheries Final Report Series No. 135. NSW Department of Primary Industries,  Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, 141 pp.

Boys, C., Baumgartner, L.,  Rampano, B., Robinson, W., Alexander, T., Reilly, G., Roswell, M., Fowler, T. and Lowry, M.  (2012).  Development of fish screening criteria for water diversions in the  Murray-Darling Basin. Fisheries Final Report Series No. 134. NSW Department  of Primary Industries, Cronulla.

Boys, C. A., Pease, B. and  Robinson, W. (2012).  Responses of fish and crustacean assemblages  in Hexham Swamp following Stage 1 & 2 opening of Ironbark Creek floodgates.  Report to the Hunter-Central Rivers CMA. NSW Department of Primary Industries,  38 pp.

Boys, C. A. and Williams, R.  J. (2012).  Fish and decapod assemblages in Kooragang Wetlands: the impact of tidal  restriction and responses to culvert removal. Fisheries Final Report Series  No. 133. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla, 80 pp.

Boys, C., Rourke, M., Robinson, W., Gilligan, D. and Thiebaud, I. (2011).  Status of freshwater catfish populations and  their habitat within the Cockburn River. Final report for the Namoi  Catchment Management Authority. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Nelson Bay,  52 pp.
Boys, C. A., Miles, N. and  Rayner, T. (2009).  Scoping options for assessing the impact of cold water pollution  mitigation on the fish assemblage downstream of Keepit Dam, Namoi River.  MDBA Publication No. 20/09. Murray-Darling  Basin Authority, Canberra, 75 pp.

Boys, C. A., Robinson, W.,  Butcher, A., Zampatti, B. and Lyon, J. (2009).  Framework for developing and  implementing ecological monitoring and evaluation of aquatic rehabilitation in  demonstration reaches. MDBA Publication No. 43/08. Murray-Darling  Basin Authority, Canberra.

Barrett, J., Baumgartner, L.  J., Boys, C. A., Mallen-Cooper, M., Stuart, I.  G. and Zampatti, B. P. (2008).  The need  for fish passage in the Murray-Darling   Basin. In: J. Barrett  (ed.). The sea to Hume Dam: Restoring  fish passage in the Murray River. Murray-Darling  Basin Commission, Canberra, 1-11 pp.

Baumgartner, L. J., Boys, C.  A., Zampatti, B. P. and Stuart, I. G.  (2008).  Assessment of fish passage  through fishways at Lock 7, 9 and 10. In: J. Barrett (ed.). The sea to Hume Dam: Improving fish passage  in the Murray River. Murray-Darling  Basin Commission, Canberra, 31-41 pp.

Boys, C. A. (2007).  Fish-habitat associations in a large dryland  river of the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. PhD Thesis, University  of Canberra, Canberra. 320 pp.

Boys, C. A., Esslemont, G.  and Thoms, M. C. (2005).  Fish Habitat Assessment and Protection in  the Barwon-Darling and Paroo   Rivers. Fisheries  Final Report Series No. 78. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla, 105  pp.

Professional associations and activities

  • Australian representative on the International Energy Agency Fish and Hydropower Annex.
  • Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England.
  • Member and State Representative (NSW) of the Australian Society of Fish Biology.

Fields of research

  • 060204  Freshwater Ecology
  • 050102  Ecosystem Function
  • 050104  Landscape Ecology
  • 050202  Conservation and Biodiversity
  • 050206  Environmental Monitoring
  • 050207  Environmental Rehabilitation
  • 070402  Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment
  • 050211  Wildlife and Habitat Management
  • 050205  Environmental Management
  • 060202  Community Ecology
  • 060205  Marine and Estuarine Ecology

Australian  and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Fish Habitat
  • Aquatic habitat rehabilitation
  • Fish passage
  • Barotrauma
  • Shear
  • Freshwater ecology
  • Estuarine ecology
  • Re-snagging
  • EUS, red spot disease
  • Fish screens
  • Floodgates
  • Eco-hydraulics