Fish friendly councils

Did you know that one in five people enjoy going fishing?

Recreational fishing is not only a popular pastime; it provides social and economic benefits to local areas. Recreational fishers are not only interested in wetting a line every once in a while, they are also interested in activities that affect their favourite fishing spot and the fish they hope to catch.

This is good news for local councils. This passion for fish can support councils' work in key areas, such as improving stormwater infrastructure, ensuring weirs and road crossings are fish friendly, replanting riverbanks, restoring wetlands and managing floodplains.

Local councils have jurisdiction over a number of activities which can affect native fish habitat, so they can have an influential role in restoring fish habitat and encouraging native fish to return to the rivers and creeks in NSW. Being a Fish Friendly Council will improve fish habitat but it will also enhance recreational and tourism opportunities and support a healthy vibrant community.

Fish Friendly Councils is an innovative program which provides detail on 10 top tips which aim to help local councils incorporate beneficial outcomes for native fish into existing council works programs. The use of native fish, which are widely recognised by the community, will provide council the opportunity to integrate and promote the outcomes of an array of works and other programs associated with waterways to the wider community.

10 top tips for a fish friendly council

  1. Find out about your local fish populations
  2. Help protect key fish habitat in Council planning processes
  3. Ensure council infrastructure is fish friendly
  4. Treat stormwater prior to discharge
  5. Protect and manage buffer areas
  6. Maintain and enhance public reserves for river health
  7. Collaborate with your neighbouring councils
  8. Support local groups working on fish friendly projects (for example: Rivercare, Landcare, Indigenous groups, Fishing clubs)
  9. Educate your local community about fish and river health
  10. Promote your fish friendly work to the wider community

Watch the videos on how to be a Fish Friendly council or download a PDF version of the 10 Top Tips for a Fish Friendly Council (PDF, 809 KB)

Funding for a fish friendly council

The following funding opportunities provide a few examples of the scope of funds available for fish friendly projects.

Fish Habitat Action Program: Grants of up to $40,000 from the recreational fishing fee are available for individuals, clubs, community groups and local councils for the rehabilitation of fish habitat in freshwater and saltwater environments.

More info or phone (02) 6626 1396.

Local Land Services: Boards in 11 regions across NSW work with the community, local councils and agencies to respond to the key natural resource management issues facing their catchments. Each Local Land Services region has incentive programs to assist in addressing these issues.

More info:

Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Program: The NSW Government’s Environmental Trust facilitates projects to prevent or reduce pollution, restore degraded environmental resources and prevent or minimise future environmental damage. Grants of between $5,000 and $100,000 are available for community groups or state and local government.

More info: or phone (02) 88376093.

Estuary Management Program: The primary objective of this NSW Government program is to provide support to councils to improve the health of NSW estuaries and understand the potential risks from climate change. Grant offers are subject to availability of funds for each financial year and State-wide priorities. Funding of up to 50 % of a project's costs will normally be offered for successful grant applications.

More info:

National Land Care Program: The Australian Government provides funds to communities, farmers and other land managers to help drive sustainable agriculture as well as supporting the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Australia's natural environment.

More info: or phone toll-free 1800 552008.