Oct 062014

Original story at PSNews online

A 2,000 kilometre project to help native fish species travel up the River Murray is to take out man-made obstacles along the river system.
Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

The $70 million Sea to Hume fishway program near Waikerie in South Australia’s Riverland includes 17 fishways designed to help native fish species navigate major weirs and barrages.

The Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter said the new fishways would help to increase the population and distribution of more than 25 species of native fish such as Murray cod and golden perch.

“While locks, weirs and barrages play an important role, mainly in the navigation of boats through different sections of the river, they restrict the natural movement of some native fish,” Mr Hunter said.

“The installation of fishways at these sites allows the fish to migrate upstream for breeding, safety and to establish new territories,” he said.

“They also help in the management of invasive species like carp, with specialised separation structures in use at several of the fishways.”

The project was funded by the Living Murray program and supported through $70 million of funding from the Federal Government and the Governments of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

The Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham said the project had been 10 years in the making and had restored 2,225 kilometres of fish passage from the Murray Mouth in South Australia to the Hume Dam on the border of New South Wales and Victoria.

“Over the decades, we’ve developed the River Murray so that it can best support our communities and industries, but this has affected our native fish species which need to swim upstream as part of their breeding cycle,” Senator Birmingham said.

“By building a series of fishways, we help our native fish species to navigate their way around river structures, like weirs.”

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