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The Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy

From the Murray Cod to the Golden Perch, fish are an important part of Australia’s rivers. There are 46 native fish species in the Murray–Darling Basin. They rely on good water quality and the plants and animals in and around the river for their survival.

For the First Nations, native fish are an important cultural connection. For Basin communities from Queensland to South Australia fishing is a major economic driver, with around 10,000 people employed in the sector.

Water managers know that native fish are one part of a larger living, connected system and work needs to be done to protect these species.

The Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy Framework

The fish deaths in the Lower Darling earlier this year were a stark reminder governments need to do more to protect native fish. Five million dollars has been committed to developing and implementing a Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy.

The strategy will outline a 10 year plan to protect native fish in the Murray–Darling Basin and aims to ensure:

  • healthy and diverse native fish populations are supported and are resilient to extreme events
  • flows are managed to mitigate extreme events
  • critical native fish habitats are protected and effectively managed
  • native fish research and activities are resourced to develop Basin-scale knowledge
  • monitoring is complementary and provides long-term insights and supports decision-making.

The strategy will supplement, and build on existing native fish programs across the Basin. This will include a coordinated approach to fish recovery and the strategy will be developed and implemented collaboratively with the Basin state governments, First Nations and the wider community.

A draft framework has been developed to coordinate and leverage existing native fish management programs in priority areas and to address the gaps where additional investment may be required.

Community feedback

Engagement with communities is vital to ensure the strategy incorporates local knowledge.

A framework for developing the Native Fish Management Recovery Strategy was launched in September 2019 to provide an initial platform for public consultation. Submissions have now closed and feedback will be incorporated into the development process.

There will be further opportunities for the community to provide feedback over the next year.


Updated: 14 Oct 2019