Native fish numbers in the Gwydir valley are expected to increase as a result of improvements at the Bingara Fishing Club Hatchery.
Works to repair two native fish breeding stock dams are now complete and new fish have taken up residence. The upgrade has repaired leaking dams and now ensures reliable water levels for hatchery breeding stock and for fingerlings to grow.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has supported the project which will benefit the community and the environment.
OEH environmental water manager Daryl Albertson said the hatchery had a long history of breeding and releasing native fish, including Murray cod and Golden perch, into the Gwydir River.
“By providing more space for broodstock and the development of fry and fingerlings, the hatchery will increase its capacity to restock local rivers,” Mr Albertson said.
“Bingara is well known as a fishing destination and increasing fish numbers has clear benefits for local businesses as well as visitors and local recreational fishers.
“Downstream of Copeton Dam, native fish are affected by cold water releases from the base of the dam which suppress natural breeding cues.
Until cold water pollution can be addressed, restocking is an important measure to ensure native fish stocks are maintained and improved.
The Bingara Fishing Club Hatchery is accredited under the NSW Hatchery Quality Assurance Scheme. This means all fish produced are obtained from distinct regions across NSW and a specific number of broodstock are used to ensure the highest standard and quality of fish.
Local restocking efforts are complemented by the work of OEH in providing environmental flows which support healthy habitat for resulting fish stocks.
“The combined efforts of OEH and the Bingara Fishing Club are essential to the ongoing health of local rivers, the fish that live there and visitors to our region, now and in the future,” Mr Albertson said.