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Take Care Of Fish Habitat

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The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is reminding landholders and local councils to seek advice from DPI when undertaking works within streams, wetlands or rivers.

While the majority of people are doing the right thing others need to be reminded that the construction of structures, such as roads, weirs and dams, or placement of other materials across a waterway which slows down flows or dams them requires approval from DPI.

In-stream structures can create significant barriers to the movement of fish in a waterway and in turn can interfere with their access to food, shelter from predators and spawning sites for breeding.

We want to assist landholders and local councils with any in-stream works to make sure they have the correct approvals, fish passage is adequately maintained and the structure is designed correctly.

There is also some concern about recent reports of the removal of large woody debris (snags) which have been exposed in rivers, lakes and wetlands because of the drought.

Snags are essential habitat for many native freshwater fish, including the popular angling species, Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Australian Bass. Native fish use snags to shelter from currents, as refuge from predators, and as feeding and spawning sites.

The removal of snags from waterways has been one of the primary causes of native fish population decline and has been linked to the demise of several listed threatened species of native fish.

Anyone wishing to cut, move or remove snags should contact their local DPI Fisheries office for assistance before proceeding.

Those found to be undertaking unauthorised de-snagging or constructing in-stream structures could be prosecuted. Anyone with information on such activities should contact their local DPI Fisheries office or call Fish Watch on 1800 043 536.

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Guest bluecod

I can't say that this press release is innovative as it has been a Fisheries Policy for some years, however as a recurrent request/warning it is commendable, keeping in mind that it was not that many years ago when another government agency was implementing its de-snagging program to the tune of six figure sums each year.

Its a pity the press release does not adopt a "whole of government approach" [sorry Iain] as it only partly touches on all legal requirements of in-stream construction. :(

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