We have activated our fish emergency recovery teams along the Murray River due to the floods and blackwater events. You can help by registering to be an OzFish rescue volunteer below. 

 

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These efforts create a unique period of collaboration between fishers, farmers, landholders, communities, government and non government organisation’s along with our major partner, BCF to come together and do whatever it takes to save our native fish in an emergency and help to recovery the waterways once the threat is over.

Fish Emergency Recovery Projects

Murray River Flood Rescues 2022

Murray River Flood Rescues 2022

Extreme flooding has resulted in hypoxic blackwater events which is having a devastating effect on fish and freshwater crayfish along the Murray River and its tributaries in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. OzFish have been working alongside authorities to deploy our Fish ...

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Tenterfield Creek, NSW

Tenterfield Creek, NSW

At the end of 2019, bushfires ravaged the Tenterfield area and a following rain event saw chemical, ash and sediment impact the water quality of Tenterfield Creek damaging the habitat of the southern purple spotted gudgeon. OzFish Unlimited and Landcare Australia got together through the ...

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Waterway Fire Science

Waterway Fire Science

The Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-20 ravaged the east coast of Australia at an unprecedented scale and ferocity and was followed by high rainfall, dealing our precious and unique waterways with a devastating blow. Waterway Fire Science Project is a citizen science initiative in NSW which will ...

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Landcare Australia Aquatic Wildlife Habitat Bushfire Program

Landcare Australia Aquatic Wildlife Habitat Bushfire Program

A bushfire recovery program led by Landcare Australia, delivered in partnership with OzFish Unlimited and Native Fish Australia (Victoria), will support initiatives to restore habitat for ten national priority threatened aquatic species in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

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Lower Darling River, NSW

Lower Darling River, NSW

OzFish Unlimited volunteers, farmers and community members have worked together during the summer of 2020 in an emergency fish rescue operation in one of our nation’s most significant river systems – the Lower Darling.

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Nichols Point, Mildura VIC

Nichols Point, Mildura VIC

Volunteers from OzFish Unlimited have teamed up with students from the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE to save critically endangered native fish that were in desperate need to be relocated.

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Timbarra River and Sheepyard Creek NSW

Timbarra River and Sheepyard Creek NSW

OzFish and Landcare Australia have joined forces to help threatened species which suffered from the Black Summer fires thanks to the Landcare Australia Aquatic Wildlife Habitat Bushfire Program.

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Murdering Creek, QLD

Murdering Creek, QLD

Joining forces OzFish has partnered with Landcare Australia to restore this important fish habitat, home to the endangered honey blue-eye and pygmy perch. The OzFish Noosa Chapter teamed up with Noosa Landcare to tackle the problem head-on and the two groups of volunteers spent hours removing ...

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Bundjalung National Park, NSW

Bundjalung National Park, NSW

Wetland wonders 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.

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Cudgewa Creek, VIC

Cudgewa Creek, VIC

Fishos helping fish The Cudgewa Creek is home to many of our favorite freshwater native fish including the iconic Murray cod, the beautiful mountain galaxias and of course, the endangered trout cod which are also fondly known as bluenose cod. Local fishers have been absolutely central to ...

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Tuross River, NSW

Tuross River, NSW

OzFish Eurobodalla Chapter with Eurobodalla Landcare and Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) have been collaborating to recover areas of Clayton’s Spiny Crayfish habitat degraded by bushfire in the Tuross River catchment. Together, the groups have identified a property on the river and have ...

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Mongarlowe River, NSW

Mongarlowe River, NSW

The OzFish Eurobodalla Chapter are working with the landholder to install approximately 2.5 kilometres of fencing, which will retain approximately 70 hectares of river-front banks from livestock trampling and grazing, giving native vegetation a chance to recover from the fires. Where required, ...

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As many fire-affected communities continue to recover and rebuild, there is a constant reminder of the devastating toll that drought, fire and floods have taken on our fish and aquatic life. And it can be seen in our waterways, with record numbers of fish kills, widespread habitat loss plus poor water quality. There are also still places with little to no water where much precious native fish have simply suffocated.

Native fish in Australia will continue to experience droughts, devastating bushfires and severe rain events and these events destroy habitat. OzFish gets recreational fishers activated on critical projects to help Australia’s fish populations recover from these challenges.

It was the summer of 2019/2020 when Australians watched on in horror witnessing images and videos of dead fish dominated the news and flooded social media. Heartbroken anglers fought back tears as they described what they were witnessing in drought-affected rivers.

It was also a turning point for Australia’s largest fishing conservation movement, OzFish Unlimited, as volunteers in the hundreds mobilised to save native fish from suffocating in many areas across the Murray-Darling Basin. These efforts created a period of collaboration between fishers, farmers, landholders, communities, government and the organisation’s major partner, BCF. Seeing these fish perish would not happen under their watch.

Now the Fish Emergency Recovery programs at OzFish actively monitors bushfire, flood and drought affected waterways, restores habitat for threatened aquatic species impacted by these catastrophic events and is ready to mobilise at the next emergency.

Environmental disasters: what happens to our native fish?

Bushfire 

  • Ash from fires washes into waterways clogging fish’s gills; it smothers plants and animals destroying productivity; excess ash also leads to an increase in bacterial blooms that consume oxygen in the water
  • The fires destroy the plants and trees on the side of the water which either feed fish directly from leaves, flowers or seeds or via the bugs and grubs that fall off the plants
  • Fires strip the leaves from trees, leading to reduced shade which increases water temperature

Drought 

  • Fish need water flows for oxygen to breath, so when the water stops flowing fish don’t get the oxygen they need, leading to fish kills
  • Fish that are surviving in pools will often die after rainfall as these initial flows are full of sediment and organic matter that consumes the oxygen

Floods

  • Too much water at the wrong time can create large fish kills and destroy fish habitat.
  • Heavy rainfall events can cause large amounts of sediment and rotting matter to run into our waterways, reducing water quality for fish by removing the oxygen out of the system and causing fish to suffocate.

Our Fish Emergency Recovery projects include:

  • Working in collaboration with other groups to save endangered species
  • Working in partnership with government organisations to rescue and relocate fish in crisis
  • Helping to source, prepare and assemble specialist equipment and engaged in methods such as electro-fishing, netting and line-fishing to rescue native fish
  • Helping install aerators to pump oxygen into targeted areas where fish may seek refuge
  • Helping with clean up of fish kills or debris from floods
  • Waterway recovery programs to access the impacts of fire, floods and drought
  • Monitoring programs to assess how waterways are recovering after the impacts of a natural disaster

fish recovery

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At OzFish we are incredibly proud of the rescue and emergency recovery efforts undertaken by so many of our OzFish volunteers, our fish need more help to recover now more than ever. And you can help.

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