New website showcases innovative fish screens


A NEW website will showcase the benefits of self-cleaning intake screens for water pumps and gravity-fed channels, to help farmers save money and water while protecting native fish.

OzFish Unlimited, the voice of Australia´s recreational anglers, partnered with manufacturers, water users, farming groups and fisheries experts from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University to create

OzFish Unlimited CEO Craig Copeland encouraged farmers to visit the new website.

“This website is all about connecting farmers with the latest expertise from scientists, irrigation engineers and local manufacturers, so they can find the right technology to modernise their intake,” Copeland said.

Thousands of pumps and gravity-fed diversions extract water from rivers across Australia. Most of these either have no screen or are fitted with ineffective screens known as `trash racks´.

Copeland said these older screens suck in fish and debris and can cost farmers time and money.

“There´s been a lot of news recently about the impacts of older screens and how these impacts could be eased using modern technology. However, there hasn´t been much information available,” he said.

National Irrigators Council CEO Steve Whan welcomed the initiative.

“Irrigators are strong advocates for river conditions that suit native fish and we are early adopters of technology that will help the environment and productivity,” he said.

“Modern fish screens definitely fit that bill and we expect plenty of interest in this website.”

Dr Craig Boys, a Senior Fisheries Scientist at NSW DPI, researched the most
appropriate screens for Australian conditions.

“Modern screens have a large surface area, fine mesh and are self-cleaning. They reduce the velocity of water entering a water intake, without affecting the volume. This keeps fish and debris where they belong – in the river, not in water supply pipes and channels,” Dr Boys said.

The website comes at an important time for regional communities, as they chart their recovery from bushfires, drought, flooding and COVID-19.

Funding for was provided by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, the Ian Potter Foundation through the Screens for Streams program and BCF – Boating Camping Fishing.

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