Celebrate World Fish Migration Day

This Sunday is World Fish Migration Day, a global event to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish. Organisations from around the world are hosting events around a common theme of connecting fish, rivers and people.

In Victoria, the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) will be holding a World Fish Migration Day event in Koondrook which will also be launching the Native Fish Recovery Plan (NFRP) – Gunbower and lower Loddon prospectus.

To kick off the day, Barham Angling Club are hosting a family fishing competition. The fun will continue at Apex Park with a sausage sizzle, colouring competition, Waterwatch activites, native fish display and lots more in the afternoon. Cricketing legend and keen fisherman Merv Hughes will be speaking at the event as well as fish expert Ivor Stuar and the North Central CMA who will be speaking about the Native Fish Recovery Plan. Find out more about the event details here.

Making every drop count… twice!

The NFRP aims to restore native fish populations and waterway health in the Central Murray system in northern Victoria, specifically on the Gunbower Creek and lower Loddon River. The NFRP provides an opportunity to increase native fish populations, recover threatened species and improve natural values, all integrated with vibrant and productive communities, irrigation and agriculture.  A key component to the NFRP is embedding fish restoration flows into irrigation flows; that is, using the water twice.

Native fish populations in the Gunbower- lower Loddon system are being impacted by a number of factors. These include:

  • Connectivity
    Weirs prevent fish from entering or leaving the system to recolonise from the Murray River and prevent them from completing breeding migrations. Fish are lost from creeks and streams due to irrigation channels.
  • Flow
    During winter, low or no water flow contributes to poor habitat when species, such as Murray Cod, need water flow to build optimal breeding conditions and enable juveniles to survive the winter. When there is no demand for irrigation, the streams have little to no water flow. These streams were once a complex network of fast and slow flows but are now a series of weirpools with little flow and wetlands that were an important habitat for small threatened species have been lost.
  • Habitat
    There has been a reduction in fish habitat as the system has been largely cleared of snags and with cattle grazing on river banks, there has been significant erosion and a reduction in water quality.

The NFRP’s solution includes restoring fish migration through effective fishways, using self-cleaning screens to prevent fish from getting lost in irrigation channels, restoring habitat in and along the river and providing the all-important flow.

For more information visit Native Fish Recovery Plan (NFRP) – Gunbower and lower Loddon prospectus.

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