Fishing personality Lubin Pfeiffer gets behind fish habitat restoration in the Murray-Darling Basin as the Lower Darling received some Full-Scale help.
Lubin, host of The Full Scale Fishing Adventures, was only too happy to assist OzFish Unlimited’s latest re-snagging deployment in the Lower Darling, one of the largest in-stream restoration projects by Australia’s recreational fishing charity.
As part of OzFish’s River Repair Bus program, OzFish worked with local anglers and community for over 19 months to plan for the massive installation which was delayed due to the floods. The group ensured volunteers were there to roll up their sleeves to improve habitat for native fish by replacing lost woody and rocky habitat in the Lower Darling River and completed kilometres of waterway clean-ups.
The benefits will be immense to help rebuild the native fishery with 35 large habitat structures and 100 tonnes of rocks installed in addition to 300 litres of rubbish collected with 920 hours collectively put in by the volunteers.
This project was made possible through funding by the Australian Government’s Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program, NSW DPI Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Trust’s Habitat Action Grant Program and the Australian Government’s CRC Program. The project is also supported by BCF - Boating, Camping, Fishing and the local recreational angling community.
Replacing the natural snags and rocks back into the Lower Darling is essential as millions have been removed over the past 200 or more years.
Lubin was on board when the massive installation happened.
“I think the great thing about what OzFish is doing is they’re returning their rivers back to their natural state,” he said.
“During early European settlement it was the norm to take all the logs and the rocks out of the river, simply because it was better for irrigation, it also allowed the riverboats to pass through easily because the rivers were the highways.
“But what has happened is that it’s decimated native fish populations because there’s nowhere for fish to live.
“So the way to fix the problem is to return structures back into the rivers, which provides more cover for the fish, gives them somewhere to hide away from carp and other predators.
“The long-term vision of this project is to return the Lower Darling River into a healthy natural, complex river system which not only helps us as fisherpeople but is a great thing for the environment.”
He added that most rec fishers are on board with protecting and restoring the environment in and around our waterways.
The project builds on previous restoration undertaken in 2020 in the Lower Darling to be one of the biggest freshwater fish habitat improvement projects by the volunteer led charity.
Lubin acknowledged he had learned a great deal about the importance of restoring habitat after attending fishing talks and re-snagging projects with OzFish in recent years.
“It was one of the biggest things I learned at one of these OzFish talks that you can have three or four metres of a clay bank and if you put a tree in there, it will triple the number of Murray cod in the area, just by putting a single large log in that small area.
“It’s just so important, it makes so much sense in terms of increasing the habitat but also increasing the liveable areas for the fish in the river.
Restoring this habitat is vital to improving the fishery,
To find out more about what OzFish is achieving across the country to support native fish and Australia’s waterways visit: www.ozfish.org.au