Freshwater fish today face many hurdles if they are to thrive in our rivers, lakes and estuaries. Today, on World Fish Migration Day, The Nature Conservancy highlights some of the ways we support free flowing Australian rivers and their fish.
“Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and we’re getting drier,” said Dr James Fitzsimons Director of Conservation at the Nature Conservancy in Australia. “We need to do more to protect our precious waterways - be they fresh or marine - not just for the fish that live in them, but for the people that rely on them too.”
Here are four diverse examples of our work to secure endangered and recreationally-valuable fish populations in Australia:
- Our Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund invests in water security for farmers, while protecting culturally significant wetlands that support threatened species and ecosystems in Victoria and NSW. It optimises agricultural and environmental outcomes by replicating the natural wetting and drying cycles of the Basin. Since its inception in 2015, the fund has facilitated the delivery of more than 3,315 megalitres important wetlands in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. This supported the survival and breeding of freshwater fish like the endangered Murray Hardyhead.
- At Gayini near Hay in southern NSW, we’re supporting the Nari Nari people in their efforts to reinstate more natural floodwater flows across their 88,000 hectare property. After many decades of water flows being impeded and channelled, water is once again flowing naturally across this vast flat floodplain, encouraging the dispersal of native fish like the Murray Cod.
- In the Peel-Harvey Estuary south of Perth, WA we’re installing mussel reefs in order to return the natural services they once provided there – cleaner water and more habitat for fish and other aquatic species. 500 square metres of reinstated reefs will benefit fish species like Pink Snapper and Black Bream.
- The Large-toothed Sawfish is a mighty fish that needs a mighty river to survive in. Reaching up to 6.5 metres in length, this threatened species is Australia’s largest freshwater fish. While remote, the Fitzroy River in which it lives faces threats to its ongoing wildness. We’re supporting the Nyikina Mangala people, the Traditional Owners of the lower Fitzroy, to develop a plan for their country that will allow development where it’s appropriate while protecting high value natural assets like the river and the sawfish that rely on it.
“In all of these examples, restoring the rivers, estuaries and the fish supports not only their survival, but the health of local people and the communities they live in,” concluded Fitzsimons.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.