Making mangrove and saltmarsh habitat healthy again is an OzFish hallmark. We rebuild these habitats and improve our fishing opportunities, for this generation and those to come.

Sometimes, this includes simple fixes, like working with farmers to keep livestock out of saltmarsh. Sometimes, repairs are more profound, requiring long-term assessment and planning. But it is all possible.

Mangrove and Saltmarsh Restoration Projects

Styles Point, NSW 2023

Styles Point, NSW 2023

Lake Macquarie's delicate saltmarsh communities have faced threats due to coastal development and land reclamation. This development has resulted in significant losses, impacting the fishery. In response, OzFish Unlimited’s Lake Macquarie Chapter set up the Styles Point Saltmarsh Restoration ...

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Maroochy River and Caboolture River, QLD 2023

Maroochy River and Caboolture River, QLD 2023

Through the Caboolture and Maroochy community’s combined actions, native fish habitat continues to be protected and restored within Queensland. Restoration included improvements of in-stream habitat, saltmarsh monitoring a unique shellfish reef trial and and riparian and wetland ...

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Turning the Tide on Westernport Mangroves, VIC

Turning the Tide on Westernport Mangroves, VIC

OzFish is working with Bass Coast Landcare Network, with funding from CoastCare Victoria, to restore the mangrove forests in Western Port Bay, Victoria. The project project aims to plant up to 2,000 individual mangroves to bridge the fragmented stands of mangroves currently at the site. The ...

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Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay, Lake Macquarie, NSW

Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay, Lake Macquarie, NSW

The OzFish Hunter Chapter are working in collaboration with Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network, Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Land Council and Lake Macquarie City Council to rehabilitate Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay. The project will plant 1,200 native species with the hope to improve the ...

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Tuckean Swamp, NSW

Tuckean Swamp, NSW

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 ...

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Saltmarsh Restoration Pitt Water – Orielton Lagoon, TAS

Saltmarsh Restoration Pitt Water – Orielton Lagoon, TAS

OzFishers are working with NRM South, the University of Tasmania, and a local landholder to help restore this incredibly important Ramsar wetland and improve fish habitat. Pitt Water - Orielton Lagoon is a Ramsar listed wetland which supports a whole range of birds, fish, and other aquatic ...

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Burrill Lake, NSW

Burrill Lake, NSW

This citizen science project aims to better understand the flow-on benefits of habitat restoration for fish and recreational fishers at Burrill Lake.

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The “Reel Big Fish” Mangrove Restoration, Western Port VIC

The “Reel Big Fish” Mangrove Restoration, Western Port VIC

OzFish Unlimited are partnering with the Port Phillip and Westernport CMA along with many other groups, including Bass Coast Landcare, Parks Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Shire and Deakin and Melbourne Universities.   They'll be working collaboratively to restore mangroves in the Hastings ...

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Cairns Airport Mangrove Restoration, QLD

Cairns Airport Mangrove Restoration, QLD

OzFish are working with Cairns Airport, Terrain NRM, Yirrganydji rangers and researchers from James Cook University to improve the hydrology of mangrove wetlands in Cairns, which will restore critical fish habitat and boost fish populations in the region.

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Saving Our Saltmarsh, Richmond River, NSW

Saving Our Saltmarsh, Richmond River, NSW

Saving Our Saltmarsh project, on the lower Richmond River estuary is a project that local Richmond River Chapter volunteer fishers are personally passionate about. Saltmarsh is critically important to the health of the lower Richmond River and its fish population. These communities are ...

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Mangroves and saltmarshes provide a nursery for juvenile fish, before they move onto deeper waters, they buffer coastal communities against extreme weather events, stabilise coastlines and slow or reduce soil erosion. Despite all this, half of the world’s mangroves and even more saltmarshes have already been cleared or destroyed – and those that remain are under threat.

Mangrove and saltmarsh habitat restoration initiatives

Mangrove forests and saltmarshes may be funky to our human senses, but they are key habitats for our fishy friends, and can survive salty conditions that other vegetation cannot tolerate.

  • Habitat assessments of these environments
  • Monitoring water quality and changes to water management
  • Facilitating mangrove seed collection and planting
  • Planting of native trees and bushes
  • Restoring natural tidal flows to the area
  • Fencing to keep out livestock
  • Weeding and revegetation
  • Creating vegetative buffers
  • Removal of rubbish
  • Reduce or formalise access points
  • Signage and community engagement to support information on how to help protect the fragile habitats
  • Maintaining connectivity and movement between water systems
  • Monitoring feral pests

What’s so important about mangroves to fish?

Mangroves are a species of trees and shrubs that grow in salty environments along the shoreline of coastal rivers, bays, and estuaries, well known for their pungent smell. They are specifically designed and have an adapted circulatory system which helps them survive in harsh conditions. Mangroves are easily identified by their peg root structure which helps them to breathe.

What they do:

  • Help break down storm waves for coastlines
  • Filter out the nasties in water that runs-off urban environments
  • Serves as shelter for young fish, crabs, prawns and other invertebrate
  • A source of food for fish and birds
  • Captures and stores large amounts of carbon

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Fish need saltmarshes more than you realise. 

Saltmarshes are a coastal wetland made from mud and peat, which is a spongy layer of soil consisting of decomposing plant matter. This soft substrate, occurring along protected shorelines, is flooded and drained by salt water from the tides. Saltmarsh habitat contains a specialised community of plants which includes sedges, rushes, reeds, grasses, succulent herbs and low shrubs.

What they do:

  • Provide shelter and food for fish, especially smaller ones
  • Filters rubbish and nutrients that enter estuaries, maintaining water quality
  • Protects the shoreline from erosion
  • Slows and absorbs rainfall which reduces flooding
  • Captures and stores large amounts of carbon

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Mangroves and saltmarshes are ecologically important, providing a link between the land and water.

Sadly, they have been negatively impacted by development, land clearing, weed invasion, rubbish and pollution, uncontrolled access, and changes to water flows. This reduces the health of these environments which is bad news for our fish. As the population increases in coastal areas, the risk to these precious habitats escalates. They are also affected by environmental influences such as climate change and the rise of sea levels, which changes the structure of ecological communities.

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At OzFish we are incredibly proud of the mangrove restoration 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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