OzFish Unlimited has embarked on a project to rehabilitate the remaining saltmarsh in the Richmond River Estuary.
OzFish has partnered with Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Ballina Shire Council to get the project, titled Saving our Saltmarsh, underway.
It will not be an overnight fix. The Saving our Saltmarsh project will continue over a number of years, reviewing and addressing potential impacts on saltmarsh and river health. Actions such as rubbish removal, weed eradication, reduction of habitat damage by vehicles, buffer planting and feral animal control will be paramount to the saltmarsh’s long-term health and the productivity of our local fishery.
President of OzFish Richmond River Chapter, John Larsson said “We plan to start with the removal of illegally dumped rubbish from saltmarsh areas on North Creek.” Mr Larsson said. “Concurrently a major survey of the remaining saltmarsh will also get underway.”
Drone photography and site assessments on foot will be used to identify the stressors to other patches of saltmarsh.
John Larsson said It is estimated the Richmond River has lost more than 60% of its saltmarshes and for the remaining saltmarsh declines in health are occurring.
“It is important to retain and improve their condition as they provide both habitat and food for fish such as juvenile bream, whiting and prawns as well as a multitude of the other species which we enjoy eating with recent studies showing that as much at 95% of the diet of some species come from saltmarshes.
“We’re calling on recreational fishers motivated to ensure the Richmond River has more fish for our future to join our program to restore and protect our local saltmarsh.”
The program, funded by the NSW Government through a partnership between the Saving our Species program and the Environmental Trust, will see more fish in the local river for future generations.