DISAPPOINTED: Shaun Morris from Local Land Service at the causeway.
DISAPPOINTED: Shaun Morris from Local Land Service at the causeway. Rachel Vercoe

Threatened fish hampered on journey

IN an attempt to help a threatened fish species, a low flow rock ramp fish way has been strategically placed to aid them on their journey upstream but holiday fun has seen the efforts of professionals vandalised.

"The fish way was installed to provide passage way for Australian native freshwater fish, in particular Eastern Freshwater Cod and Bass,” Senior Land Services Officer at North Coast Local Land Services, Shaun Morris said.

As these large body fish require minimal hydraulic jump to go from a lower pool to an upper pool, the fish way at the cause way in Karangi is designed so there's only a 10cm drop between each cell.

"That way fish have a chance to rest and then burst speed their way to the next cell, rest, burst speed to the next cell.

"What's happened during the school holidays is people have come here and manipulated some of the exposed rocks, taken them out and just changed the flow through the whole structure.

"This is just really sad, it's public money gone to improve the conservation of a threatened animal and it's been basically vandalised.

Disappointed their efforts to improve an important part of the creek and fish species have been undermined, Shaun said it's likely now North Coast Local Land Services will have to go back and redo the bottom section of the fish way.

"It's completely reduced the ability for the large bodied fish to move up this fish way, it's created a barrier.

"Eastern Cod are more endangered than a panda bear under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species".

First started in 2009, it took a further nine years to get the money to finish it.

With money from DPI Recreational NSW Fishing Trust, North Coast Local Land Services and Coffs Harbour City Council, around $150,000 has been spent on the causeway including the fish way and stabilisation.

"This causeway also controls the water level for the water supply further upstream.

"They've got water level monitors upstream of the causeway and that's why we needed the fish way to still enable the fish to move upstream.

The fish way is built on decades of knowledge and Shaun said people who go in and create their own structures, whether it be erosion control or moving a log, don't know what they're upsetting.

"In the nicest possible way, your intentions might be good but these animals have been around for millions and millions of years and the people that work on these projects have decades of knowledge and we do our best to make sure that our works match the life cycle needs of these fish.



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