Bass are back at Kyogle Weir

THE installation of a fishway at the Kyogle Weir is good news for the Richmond River, its fish, and recreational fishers.

A recent survey found more than 12 different species of native fish using the fishway to access more than 1,500 km of waterways upstream from the weir.

DPI Fisheries senior fisheries manager Scott Nichols said he was impressed by the range of freshwater fish found using the fishway to access the upper reaches of the river.

“Native fish found using the fishway during the monitoring program included Australian bass, Freshwater herring, Freshwater mullet and Eel-tailed catfish.”

“These are fish that were unable to traverse the weir prior to the installation of the fishway, except during high flow periods,” he said.

“This means there was more than 1,500 km of waterways, including the upper reaches of the Richmond River, that most native fish couldn’t regularly access due to the weir when water levels were low.”

“The installation of the fishway means they can now freely move up and down stream to breed, find new habitat, feed and escape predators.”

Nichols said the fishway was good news for the river, its fish and for local recreational fishers.

“This is both a win for the ecology of the Richmond River and for fishers upstream of the weir, as native fish can return to areas they may have previously been blocked since the construction of the weir.”

Mr Nichols said the fish survey was a terrific way to evaluate the effectiveness of the V-shape prefabricated rock ramp fishway design.

“It is fantastic to see this fishway working as intended. This adds to our understanding of how fish use fishways which will guide the development of fishways into the future.”

He said the prefabricated V-shape design was a great option for those looking to install fishways.

“Using a prefabricated fishway such as this means construction is faster, simpler and more cost efficient.”

“The V-shape design also helps keep the fishway clean. Material in the river can easily pass through without getting caught, reducing the time that Council needs to send works crews down to remove any blockages.”

Anyone planning to install fishways such as local councils, are welcome to contact Scott Nichols for further advice at scott.nichols@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

The fishway monitoring program will be repeated in autumn and spring 2023 and will assist in establishing the performance of the Kyogle Weir fishway and the V-shaped rock fishway design.

The Kyogle Weir Fishway monitoring program is being conducted on behalf of DPI Fisheries and funded under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy Reconnecting Fish Habitats project.

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