Richmond River Chapter

The OzFish Richmond River chapter is a group of passionate recfishers and community members working to achieving a goal of improving their local waterways.

Nestled within the sixth-largest catchment in New South Wales, the Richmond chapter has fertile soils and plenty of fish. Unfortunately, the area has undergone significant degradation with the Richmond River being one of the most polluted rivers on the eastern coast of Australia.

To counteract decades of degradation, the local OzFish Richmond River Chapter is working to restore and protect our local river systems by improving fish habitat. Our aim is to reverse this decline to improve water quality and allow the possible re-establishment of a Commercial Oyster Industry.

You get everything fishing the Richmond region. Flathead, bream and whiting are easy catches. If you like a challenge, the deep holes that line the porpoise wall off the coast of Ballina are for you, inhabited by jewfish, luderick, tailor and even the odd snapper!

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The main concerns for the Richmond River

You will hear it a lot from the clubbies, fishing in the Richmond is good, but it was a lot better back in the day.

We have experienced:

  • 70% of fish habitat loss over the previous decades
  • Chronic acidity and other problems including siltation
  • Riparian zone degradation
  • Shellfish reef populations has been decimated by lime harvesting and disease

PROJECTS UNDERWAY

Saving our saltmarsh

Saltmarsh are critically important to the health of the lower Richmond River and its fish population. These communities are important to water quality, bank stability and as fish habitat and fish food source.

OzFish Richmond River Chapter volunteers, Ballina Shire Council and Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council have noticed the historical decline of saltmarshes and loss of their benefits on the Richmond River and have joined forces to take action to protect and improve the last remnants of these precious fish habitat still remaining.

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Richmond River Super Oysters

The Richmond River Chapter is partnering with local business Richmond Oysters and the NSW DPI to trial selectively bred Sydney Rock Oysters, which scientists hoped might be more resilient in local conditions.

The Chapter has been monitoring and continues to work with various research facilities to investigate this apparent Rock Oyster variation with some startling results.

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Tuckean Nature Reserve Options Study

The Tuckean Swamp is one of the biggest wetlands in New South Wales.

Once dubbed ‘Kakadu of the South’ for its abundant wildlife, the Tuckean was an engine room for fisheries productivity throughout Northern NSW. Unfortunately we now know that the modifications to the hydrology of the swamp, largely through floodplain drainage infrastructure, has resulted in poor water quality across it’s floodplain.

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Riparian Plantings

We have undertaken numerous riparian plantings including along ChickibaMaguires, North and Emigrant Creeks. Many of these plants are now established and continue to be maintained by the Chapter. We encourage landholders to continue to plant natives and install fencing, this will help with the recovery of the riparian corridor. Ballina Shire Council continue to support us in these works through their Healthy Waterways Program, assisting with fencing, woody weed control and equipment for watering. We are also supported by a range of funding and inkind support to make these projects possible.

COMPLETED PROJECTS
The Richmond River Chapter is proud to have undertaken several restoration projects over the years.

Wetland Restoration Education Program

Our Richmond River Chapter are doing an outstanding job in educating the next generation about the importance of conservation of our waterways. The pilot program has been a resounding success so far, with several local primary and high schools taking part in the Richmond Catchment area. The students showed great enthusiasm for many parts of the program especially the bird watching and working with the microscopes. Positive feedback came from the teachers too, who pointed out how easily the program aligned with the syllabus set by the DECC.

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Emigrant Creek Resnagging

Courtesy of a DPI Habitat Action Grant, OzFish Richmond completed a re-snagging project to a section of Emigrant Creek, North Ballina. During last century vast amounts of woody debris (snags) were systematically removed when communities relied more on maritime traffic.

It’s now a priority for all OzFish Chapters around Australia to bring back this vital ingredient to fish habitat and in fact contribute to all marine eco systems in our waterways.

Upcoming Richmond River Chapter events and activities

Today

Latest News

OzFish CEO Rolls Up For Take 3 CEO Clean-Up

Craig Copeland, OzFish’s Founder and CEO, recently took part in a global environmental event Take 3 from the Sea and has called on the recreational fishing community to continue cleaning their waterways.

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Richmond River’s Unique Oyster Evolution Set To Improve Fish Habitats

On Sunday 14th November, OzFish Unlimited’s Richmond River Chapter, celebrated Gone Fishing Day a little differently by highlighting the mental health benefits fishing can offer to everyone. They also unveiled a very special type of oyster in the process.

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OzFishers Help Revive Oxleyan Pygmy Perch Habitat After fires

OzFish and Landcare Australia has given a leg up for a little-known endangered fish in Northern NSW, the Oxleyan Pygmy Perch (OPP), which had its home impacted by the catastrophic 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires in Northern New South Wales. Bushfires and recent flooding had dramatically impacted the home of the OPP. The two groups are now working to protect and restore lost habitat for the small-bodied fish within the region to give it every chance of survival.

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OzFish Brings Together Recreational And Commercial Fishers To Improve Local Fish Habitat

Local Richmond River members of Australia’s fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited have been gifted a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring device from the local commercial mullet haul team which will ensure any changes in water and environment will be identified quickly. The equipment was purchased by the Ballina commercial fishers using funds raised through sales of their annual mullet haul. The team of pro-fishers working through the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op gifted the device to the local OzFish Chapter to boost their efforts in fish habitat restoration projects within the Richmond River and improve the river’s health and fisheries.

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New Oyster Variety Potential Game Changer

For the past several years, committed recreational fishers from OzFish Unlimited’s Richmond River Chapter, have been working with scientists from the NSW Government and Universities to bring back shellfish to the Richmond River. The research, underway since 2016, has identified Rock Oysters that are thriving within the Richmond estuary and showing resistance to a fatal oyster disease that could be the breakthrough oyster farmers and the river desperately need. Healthy oysters for the third year running. OzFish volunteers have put in hundreds of hours monitoring oysters with the support of NSW

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Rocky Creek Restoration Benefits Farmers And Fishers

Farmers are stepping up to change land management practices to improve the health of the Richmond River. One project already completed is a major restoration to a short section of Rocky Creek where OzFish Unlimited, Northern Cooperative Meat Company, Lismore Shire Council and Whian Whian Landcare have delivered an innovative partnership that benefits local cattle production and fish habitat. OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s only fishing conservation charity, with support from their major partner BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing, jointly funded a project with Lismore City Council’s Landholder Initiative to get cattle out of the creek by installing water troughs in the paddock. Rocky Creek is renowned to recreational anglers as one of the last areas of the Richmond River

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Preserving Our Saltmarshes

As recreational fishers, we can share in the joy of hauling in brilliant runs of bream from intertidal waters, maybe dropping a crab pot along the river’s edge, even some prawning in the bay. So, it is worth having a look at these places as they provide the food many of our fish depend upon. Saltmarsh generally describes the place where salt-tolerant plants grow together. These places are intermittently covered by saltwater during king tides (referred to as HAT in the diagram below). Saltmarshes were previously considered to be low-value boggy swamps and wastelands of little practical use to us. So, it is no surprise we have seen many of these areas get drained, reclaimed, and consequently degraded by human activities.

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