Native fish need protecting, says angling group

By Country News

The Native Fish Strategy should be reintroduced according to the Edward-Wakool Angling Association, which says a basin-wide approach to rehabilitating native fish communities is needed.

Originally introduced in 2003, the Murray-Darling Basin-wide approach aimed to achieve 60 per cent of estimated pre-European fish populations.

It was ended in 2012 after funding was withdrawn.

Yet Edward-Wakool Angling Association president Troy Bright said it was desperately needed.

‘‘The Native Fish Strategy brought a basin-wide approach to fish and management of fisheries, which we lost in 2012, and look where we are now,’’ Mr Bright said.

‘‘All state governments need to re-commit to the plan and provide funding for a 10-year phase to start straight away.

‘‘Our local members of parliament should be fighting for this, for the benefit of native fish and the recreational fishers in the basin.

‘‘Recreational fishing is important for towns like Deniliquin and surrounding districts, and we need both local and basin-wide projects to protect our native fish.

‘‘At present we don’t have that, and the situation at Menindee is a stark reminder that we are failing native fish in the basin.’’

Mr Bright believes agreed targets to achieve a guaranteed end of system flow are needed, with appropriate contributions for all systems, including the Darling.

‘‘Flood-plain harvesting also needs a real shake up, as it is these flows that make or break the system,’’ he said.