Sustainable farming sees fingerlings flourish

SIMPLE but effective sustainable farming practices are helping to make a big difference for an important fish breeding area near the picturesque coastal town of Crescent Head and creating more native fish in the process.

Thanks to a Recreational Fishing Trust Fish Habitat Action Grant, the Belmore Wetland
Habitat for Fingerlings project has improved the health of a wetland located on private
property and two creeks that feed into Killick Creek estuary.

NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Habitat Action Grants coordinator Fisheries
Conservation Manager, Charlotte Jenkins, said fingerlings that call the estuary home now have a chance to flourish.

“This is a great example of how farmers can implement sustainable fish friendly farming practices; improving management of their property and achieving some fantastic outcomes for native fish in the process,” Ms Jenkins said.

“Working with the local Landcare group, Macleay Landcare, Lloyd Davis identified areas
on his farm which could be improved for local ecosystem health.

“Targeting an area known for acid sulphate soil issues, fencing was erected to protect 40 hectares of wetland.

“Restricting livestock access to this sensitive area in conjunction with targeted weed
control has seen the quality of water in the wetland and downstream in the estuary

Ms Jenkins said that estuaries provide essential spawning and nursery habitat for several native fish species including mullet, Australian bass, yellowfin bream, luderick and whiting, as well as king and school prawns.

“Mr Davis has shown what can be achieved for fish and waterway health when off-farm
impacts are considered and fish friendly practices are put in place,” Ms Jenkins said.
“In the long term the habitat and water quality improvements are helping to create more fish, naturally.”

Habitat Action Grants of up to $40,000 each are now available for recreational fishers,
local councils, conservation groups and individuals to improve fish habitat in their local
areas and help to make more fish.

“I would like to encourage private landholders, fishers and community groups to start
thinking how they can improve their local waterway, to help benefit fish habitat for healthy fish populations,” Ms Jenkins said.

“It’s a good idea if individuals and groups start planning your project now, identify a habitat issue and decide on how you want to tackle it.”

For advice on the Habitat Action Grants and assistance with project planning contact or call 02 66261107. Applications close Friday September 27.

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