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

Three years of the Native Fish Recovery Strategy – what have we achieved and what is to come? (#171)

Stuart Little 1 , Greg J Ringwood 1 , Lauren McLeod 1
  1. Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra City, ACT, Australia

During the summer of 2018-19, widespread fish deaths occurred across the Murray-Darling Basin.  In response, $5 million of joint government funds were allocated towards the development and implementation of a Native Fish Recovery Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin.

The vision of the Native Fish Recovery Strategy (the Strategy) is to “Recover native fish for future generations”.  To progress towards this vision the Strategy outlines a set of Foundational Actions and Investment Areas.  These actions and investment areas complement the current water reform activities and aim to mitigate the threats to native fish in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Following the development of the Strategy in the first year, remaining funds have been invested in the five Foundational Actions over the past two years.  These actions include on-ground works at four “Recovery Reaches”; communications and awareness raising; developing a status assessment of native fish populations; and actions for threatened species.  The Strategy also calls for greater involvement of First Nations Peoples and Recreational Fishers in native fish recovery actions.

Our successes include the work undertaken at the Recovery Reaches, and our communications and awareness raising.  The challenges we have faced include involving First Nations Peoples appropriately; engaging high-level water managers; and implementing projects during a challenging time.

We will provide an update on the progress of the Strategy’s Foundational Actions to date; what our final products will be and how they can progress native fish recovery; and our plans for the next phase of Strategy implementation.  We will also discuss the integration of the work of the Strategy into our long-term planning to meet the ecological objectives of the Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy and the Basin Plan.