Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Menindee fish kill response activities and native fish recovery in the Lower Darling-Baaka (#170)

Iain M Ellis 1 , Cameron Lay 2 , Tony Townsend 3 , Karen Danaher 4 , Peter Heath 5
  1. DPI Fisheries NSW, Buronga, NSW, Australia
  2. DPI FIsheries, NSW DPI FIsheries, Armidale, NSW, Australia
  3. DPI Fisheries NSW, Tamworth, NSW, Australia
  4. DPI Fisheries NSW, Wollongbar, NSW, Australia
  5. DPI Fisheries NSW, NSW DPI, Dareton, NSW, Australia

In the summer of 2018–19 mass fish kills occurred in the Lower Darling (Baaka) River in south-eastern Australia. The fish kills had a significant negative social and cultural effect on local communities, particularly the traditional Baakandji people. In response to the Menindee Fish Kills NSW DPI Fisheries, in collaboration with state and commonwealth agencies and local communities, initiated of a range of actions to preserve as many native fish as possible during the unprecedented low flow conditions. These actions included mapping of refuge pools, mechanical aeration of key refugia, rescue and relocation of stranded native fish, water quality monitoring and substantial community engagement. The Australian government also committed to develop the Native Fish Recovery Strategy. A key feature of the implementation of this Strategy is the concept of Recovery Reaches and the use of Recovery Coordinators to develop and maintain the community partnerships. We present here on NSW Fisheries responses to the mass fish kills that occurred near Menindee and recovery activities since.