NSW Native Fish Drought Response 2019/2020

Darling River fish rescue

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has ongoing concerns for further fish deaths as dry and very low flow conditions persist across most of the NSW Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). As drought conditions continue, it is likely that a range of responses - including fish rescues and relocations and the formation of Valley-based technical assessment groups - will be considered in order to protect native fish stocks.

Native fish species, such as the iconic Murray Cod and Golden Perch, provide a strong social and cultural connection for communities of the NSW MDB.

Additionally, there are a number of threatened native fish across the state, as well as fish populations that are key to the long-term maintenance and recovery of fish communities both locally, regionally and across the entire Murray-Darling Basin.

NSW DPI will use the best available knowledge from experts, communities and recreational fisher to identify priority locations when assessing and planning for drought response work. Updates are provided on this page as is necessary.

Response options

Darling River fish rescue

DPI Fisheries is exploring all possible response options to protect and maximise survival of native fish during the drought. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Watering strategies (working with river operators, water management agencies, environmental water holders and water users to maximise the efficient use of water where possible across NSW);
  • A range of technological interventions to improve water quality (e.g. mixing, oxygenation) through targeted and strategic procurement and deployment;
  • Compliance actions and management;
  • Fish rescues and relocations, including threatened species management;
  • Monitoring activities, including water quality and fish communities, and;
  • Responsive clean-up operations as required.

Simple things you can do

Darling River fish rescue

  • Be on the lookout for any changes to water quality – i.e. changes to the colour or odour of your local waterway and report them to us via the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.
  • Contact us on the hotline if you observe fish starting to gasp at water surfaces or are displaying unusual behaviour
  • Take photos and location details to submit to DPI Fisheries via our dedicated email address fish.rescues@dpi.nsw.gov.au or via the DPI Fisheries Facebook page.

Download

Catchment table

Location

Actions

Murray Darling Catchments

Border Rivers

  • Valley based technical advisory group established
  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced.

Gwydir

  • Valley based technical advisory group established
  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced
  • Fish rescue undertaken with local community group at Bingara

Namoi

  • Valley based technical advisory group established
  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced

Barwon-Darling

  • Identification of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, commenced

Macquarie-Castlereagh

  • Valley based technical advisory group established
  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced
  • Prioritisation of water quality actions required for key refugia, including monitoring and aeration, commenced
  • Fish rescues are being planned with local community groups and DPI Fisheries technical staff
  • More than 250 fish rescued and relocated by DPI Fisheries staff and volunteers from Inland Waterways OzFish.

Lachlan

  • Fish rescue undertaken with local community group

Lower Darling

  • Valley based technical advisory group established
  • Site assessment of key refugia waterways commenced
  • Prioritisation of water quality actions for key refugia, including monitoring and aeration, commenced
  • More than 1,100 fish rescued by government technical staff.

Murrumbidgee

  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced.

Murray

  • Site assessment of key refugia, including for threatened fish species, in regulated and unregulated waterways commenced.