OzFish is dedicated to helping local rec fishers across Australia take control of the health of their rivers, lakes and estuaries. They partner with members and the broader community to invest time and money into the protection and restoration of our waterways.
The way our Chapter came about was through the hard work and dedication of Tav and Gen who were passionate about the fishing in the Hunter River and estuary and who lived on a boat in the Newcastle Marina.
They really saw the impact that people were having on the environment within the Hunter Valley and were keen to make sure that the superb fishing that they experienced growing up could be enjoyed by future generations.
Tim Marsden joined OzFish and found that there were some synergies between work with fishways and what could be done to improve the river systems here also. The decision to take up role of President became available and it was a natural move for him.
The traditional owners of the Hunter region are the Worimi, Awabaka, Wonnarua, and Geawegal Aboriginal poeple.
The Hunter Valley is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast. Other important waterways are Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens estuaries and their freshwater rivers and streams.
The greater river system of the Hunter, which includes the Goulburn and important tributaries such as Giants Creek, do provide needed irrigation for areas such as the Upper Hunter than can be prone to drought condition.
The main concerns fishers have is the marine pollution within the Hunter River estuary and the loss of habitat associated with urban development around these estuaries and river bank clearing of trees and underwater snags in the freshwater reaches.
In the Hunter catchment, there are rivers with many barriers that create a disconnected environment for fish. This means smaller fish get stranded in downstream where larger predators are a threat.
Juvenile fish prefer to migrate upstream to where there is more shelter from these predators and a higher chance of survival. Also, the lack of connectivity can leave larger fish to be stranded in smaller sections of the river as water levels change.
Throughout the freshwater streams of the region there is a substantial, but elusive Australian Bass population that is targeted by many the lure fishermen of the region.
These will take place in Newcastle once a venue is secured.
The chapter is planning to undertake shell reef enhancement in the lower Hunter estuary and is also investigating floating wetlands for some of the urban creeks around Newcastle.
They are also planning on undertaking riparian revegetation and instream habitat enhancement along the freshwater reaches of the Hunter River at Luscintyre.
The Hunter’s diverse range of habitats are known for their importance as a fish nursery and fish habitat areas for a range of estuary fish, the Chapter’s work hopes to have a significant effect on boosting their populations.
The Chapter has undertaken some testing of habitat units within the Lower Hunter estuary and as undertaken Mangrove regeneration with Throsby Creek.
While these initial projects have been small in scale we hope that as membership increases that we are able to take on larger projects across the chapter area.
There has been interested in fish barrier passage mapping in the area. Once these barriers are mapped and identified, they can be prioritised for the Chapter to focus on. Even landowners which vehicle passage blocking a creek way can get access to funds and grants to help unblock these barriers.