Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall joined volunteers from the Bingara Angler’s Club, DPI and Gwydir Shire Council staff last week in an operation to save native fish from diminishing water holes in the Gwydir and Horton Rivers.
The NSW Nationals Member for Northern Tablelands helped rescue 123 fish, including a giant metre-long Murray Cod, and relocated them to a section of the Gwydir River upstream of Bingara, which is not at risk of fish kills this summer.
“The current state of the Horton River is absolutely dire with large stretches of the waterway bone dry and remaining pools stagnant and unsuitable to support any form of marine life,” Mr Marshall said.
“There’ll be more severe fish kill events this summer, many more than last summer, and there’s not a lot we can do to prevent it, but this project has highlighted what can be achieved when we get on the front foot and still have a chance.
“This is the first time DPI has partnered with a volunteer fishing club on an operation like this and I truly believe without this partnership this rescue would not have been nearly as fruitful.”
The club chose 10 Murray Cod to keep in dams at the Bingara Murray Cod Hatchery to be used as brood stock.
These fish will play a pivotal role in rebuilding the local cod population, in particular regenerating important genetics which have developed over hundreds of thousands of years.
“I’ll also be working with the Angler’s Club on its plans to extend their hatchery and increase its capacity to breed large numbers of fish which will be used to repopulate local waterways once the drought breaks,” Mr Marshall said.