$33 million project helps Nepean River fish migration


Anglers on the Nepean River can help with vital research by returning tagged fish

$33 million project helps Nepean River fish migration
$33 million project helps Nepean River fish migration

Hundreds of migratory fish are being fitted with tags as part of the Nepean River rehabilitation project, one of the largest projects to ever be undertaken on a coastal stream in NSW, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald announced today.

"This massive $33 million project is aimed at restoring fish migration and reinstating environmental flows," said Macdonald. "It involves the building of 13 new fishways, which will be completed by the end of 2010.

"Ultimately, this work will help increase the number of fish species which are in decline, such as the iconic Australian bass and the threatened Australian grayling, by helping them complete essential freshwater migrations.

"It also aims to increase fish passage for many smaller native fish species to aid their migration along the river and increase their populations upstream of migration barriers."

Macdonald said Industry & Investment NSW Fisheries and ecosystems researchers at Narrandera Fisheries Centre had been awarded a three-year contract to monitor fish responses to the construction program.

"Researchers will measure expected increases in migratory fish communities between Penrith and Maldon, by fitting fish with yellow external tags and individually-coded PIT tags (microchips).

"Staff are also performing electrofishing surveys of migratory fish in the river before and after fishway construction," Macdonald
said. "Scientists will also be taking fin clips from fish to determine if the fishways are contributing to increased genetic diversity. This is the first time genetic work of this nature has ever been undertaken in Australia in response to fishway construction.

"The project, which includes construction and fish migration assessments, is being funded by the Sydney Catchment Authority."

Anyone who catches a legal sized fish with a tag can keep their catch and report it to the hotline 1800 185 027 to collect a reward, although anglers are urged to return their catches
to the water for the benefit of research.


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