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Australia’s longest rock-ramp fishway declared a success

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THE recently constructed 90-metre long rock ramp fishway on the Bremer River has proven a huge success during recent sampling of fish crossings.

3,514 individual fish representing 21 different species were recorded passing through the fishway over a five-day period, which equates to 690 fish per day that can now freely move upstream.

Matt Moore from Catchment Solutions, who designed and implemented the fishway believes this is a positive for anglers targeting Australian bass and yellowfin bream.

“We’ve opened up at least 41 kilometres of previously unreachable habitat for these species,” Moore said.

“That’s great news also for the endangered Mary River cod which through conservation efforts have been stocked into the system, as well as naturally occurring economically important sea mullet and long finned eels which were amongst the 19 native species recorded.

“Usually, to get a fish over a 2.4m barrier, a vertical slot fishway would be constructed and cost upward of a million dollars, however for a fraction of the cost this rock ramp has proven itself.

Recent sampling demonstrates the unique ability of rock ramp fishways to allow small-bodied species and juvenile fish to move upstream. The smallest fish recorded was a 19mm empire gudgeon followed by a 30mm Australian bass.

“Projects like this are paramount to sustaining and restoring local fish populations of jungle perch and the Mary River cod,” said President of the local fish stocking association and keen recreational fisherman, Gary Fitzgerald.

Berry’s Weir was constructed in the 1960s in the lower reaches of the Bremer River to impound water for power generation, impacting the life-cycle dependant migrations between downstream estuarine environments and upstream freshwater habitats.

Catchment Solutions recently conducted a fish barrier prioritisation project throughout south-east Queensland, of which the Berry’s Weir site was identified as the seventh highest priority ranked barrier. The project was funded by the Australian Government and Ipswich City Council with in-kind assistance from asset owners Stanwell Power.

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