Removing barriers the key to healthy fish stocks

Many of our native fish species need to migrate between freshwater and the ocean to breed.

But stocks of local favourites such as barramundi and mangrove jack plummet if juveniles fail to make it past the many barriers they face on their journey, such as dams, weirs and weed chokes.

Later this month, World Fish Migration Day will highlight the importance of maintaining waterways without barriers, and NQ Dry Tropics is holding its own celebration in Ayr on Saturday 21 April at Kalamia Creek, Ayr. This family event runs from 8.30am to midday opposite Kalamia State School on Lilliesmere Road.

NQ Dry Tropics Senior Project Officer, Scott Fry, explained that the event will focus on the native species that we love to fish.

“We will be explaining how they migrate, and the critical role that wetlands and trees play in keeping them healthy and providing habitat”, Mr Fry said.

“There will be lots of chances to get involved and help boost fish stocks, including a barra fingerling release and tree planting on the creek banks.

“It’s a free event, and everyone who attends will go into a draw to win a fishing trip for four with Aussie Barra Charters.

“We also have Fish and Boat magazine on board, and they will be giving away hats and t-shirts,” he said.

Mr Fry said that improving fish migration was a key focus of the NQ Dry Tropics project he is managing – the Reef Rescue Systems Repair Project, funded through the Australian Government’s Reef Program.

“Since 2013, NQ Dry Tropics has partnered with Lower Burdekin Water, Burdekin Shire Council and local landowners to remove weeds, plant trees, rehabilitate wetlands, and install fishways at Sheepstation Creek and Lilliesmere Lagoon.”, he said.

“The fishways include areas for the fish to rest as they swim against the flows”, he added.