2019-20 Drought and Bushfires rescues and recovery

2019-20 Drought and Bushfires rescues and recovery

In the lead up to the 2019/20 summer, DPI Fisheries was actively preparing to save some of Australia’s most threatened species of fish.

Multiple fish rescues and relocations have been a major part of the DPI Fisheries response to unprecedented drought, bushfires and floods, with more than 5,000 native freshwater fish collected from all corners of the state since operations began – including over 2000 fish that are threatened species.

Rescues have taken place in the Gwydir, Border Rivers, Macquarie, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, and Upper Murray catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin, and in the Clarence and Richmond River catchments on the coast

Threatened species within these catchments have been particularly vulnerable to ongoing dry conditions, further exacerbated by the impacts of bushfires and flooding.

Insurance populations for several species have been collected and held at NSW DPI hatcheries across the state. Those kept in captivity will help provide the genetic diversity required to establish a captive breeding program that will act as an insurance policy for when conditions improve and their offspring can be released back into the wild.

NSW DPI hatcheries in Port Stephens, Grafton, Gaden and Narrandera, as well as facilities at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, have been mobilised as part of the threatened species rescue program, with a combination of tanks and open ponds set up specifically to house these fish.

A pond at Narrandera Fisheries CentreImage credit John St Vincent