Snowy EEC Ministerial Order: Question and Answer Factsheet

Where is the Snowy River Endangered Ecological Community (EEC)?

The Snowy River EEC includes all rivers, creeks and streams of the Snowy River catchment within NSW and includes the Snowy River, Eucumbene River, Thredbo River, Gungarlin River, Mowamba River, Bombala River, Maclaughlin River, Delegate River, Pinch River and Jacobs River. This area includes the river bed channels inundated by the man-made lakes Jindabyne, Eucumbene, Island Bend and Guthega but excludes the ecological communities that have developed in the waters of the impounded man-made lakes.

What is a Ministerial Order?

The Minister may make an Order authorising a class of persons to carry out an activity that may result in one or more of the following:

  1. Harm to a threatened species, population or ecological community,
  2. Damage to a habitat of a threatened species, population or ecological community.

Before making an Order, the Minister must provide the Fisheries Scientific Community (FSC) and any advisory council that, in the opinion of the Minister, has an interest in the proposed Order, with a copy of the proposed Order, and invite them to provide advice.

A species impact statement (SIS) assessing the impact of the proposed activity must also be prepared in relation to the Order. Key stakeholders and the public are to be given an opportunity to make a written submission on the proposed Order.

Why has a Ministerial Order been implemented?

The listing of the Snowy River EEC gave all native species within the EEC the status and protection of endangered species. Accordingly, taking, harming, buying, selling or possessing any species within the Snowy River EEC became an offence, regardless of whether a species is listed individually as threatened or not. In effect this would prevent all recreational fishing for native species throughout the extent of the Snowy River EEC, including for species that are abundant throughout the system (e.g. Shortfin Eels).

It is recognised that there may be a range of social and economic impacts if a ban on all types of fishing for native species resulted from the listing of the ecological community. The Fisheries Management Act 1994 (FM Act) allows the Minister to make an Order authorising a class of persons to carry out an activity that may result in harm to a threatened species, population or ecological community.

What fishing rules does the Ministerial Order allow in the Snowy River EEC?

The Ministerial Order allows additional fishing in the Snowy River EEC; specifically fishing for Australian Bass and Estuary Perch on a catch-and-release basis, and Longfin and Shortfin Eels with possession limits the same as other NSW waters. The methods used to catch these species are limited to those already permitted within the EEC; that is, angling using artificial lures or baited lines.

What impact does this have on fishing for Salmonids (Trout)?

Salmonids (Trout) are not native species and are therefore not impacted by the Ministerial Order. The relevant applicable controls still apply.

Why was the Snowy River EEC listed as an endangered ecological community?

The FSC reviewed the latest scientific literature and found that the Snowy River EEC is facing a very high risk of extinction in NSW in the near future. The decline is attributed to a number of factors including for example, the modification of natural river flow after the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme and the construction of associated major dams, weirs and other flow regulating structures, a decline in water quality, the presence of introduced species and erosion, sedimentation and habitat destruction.

Where can I find more information?

The Snowy River EEC

For any other queries, send an email to

How do I report illegal fishing?

You can report illegal fishing by phoning 1800 043 536 or by completing the online form.