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The Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy

Native fish are an iconic part of Australian rivers. From the majestic Murray Cod to the sun-kissed Golden Perch, these fish are part of Australia’s native landscape. There are 46 native fish species that call the Murray–Darling Basin home. They rely on good water quality and the plants and animals in and around the river for their survival.

Native fish are vital for Basin communities. For the First Nations, native fish are an important cultural connection. Basin communities from Queensland to South Australia rely on recreational fishing—fishing has become a major economic driver, with 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 iconic species.

The Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy Framework

The tragic fish deaths in the Lower Darling earlier this year were a stark reminder Basin governments need to do more to protect native fish across the Murray–Darling Basin. $5 million has been committed to developing and implementing a Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy.

The proposed Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy aims to protect and restore native fish populations of the Basin over the long-term.

The strategy will outline a 10 year plan to protect native fish in the 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 for better coordination and leverage of existing native fish management programs in priority areas, as well as enabling coordinated addressing of gaps where additional investment may be required.

Engagement with communities is vital to ensure the strategy incorporates local knowledge. A framework has been developed, which outlines the approach Basin governments will take in developing the strategy. There is an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the early direction of the strategy and to follow its development over the next year.

Have your say

Feedback on the framework can be provided through the MDBA’s Get Involved page and will be collated to inform the development of the strategy. The survey is open from Monday, 9 September 2019–Thursday, 3 October 2019, 5pm (AEST).




Updated: 11 Sep 2019