The NSW Government has taken swift action to clamp down on individuals fishing near artificial aeration devices that are keeping iconic native fish species such as Murray Cod alive.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has today ordered a fishing ban be put in place immediately surrounding aeration devices, which provide much needed oxygen levels into waterways in the Lower Darling, Lower Macquarie and Peel rivers.
Mr Marshall said sections of the community, particularly in Menindee, had expressed concerns that fishing around the aerators could jeopardise the health of what are already distressed fish.
“I share the concerns of locals about people fishing near artificial aerators in Menindee,” Mr Marshall said.
“These aerators were installed by the Government to help keep thousands of distressed native fish alive, not as fish aggregating devices to make it easier for people to catch them.
“Today, I’m sending a strong message on behalf of the community that this sort of behaviour is not on. These fish are vulnerable and we’re trying to keep them alive – go and fish somewhere else.”
Mr Marshall said under the ban, fishing would be prohibited within 100m upstream or downstream of the aerators. If an individual is caught fishing within the closed area, they can be slapped with a $500 on-the-spot fine.
An education campaign, including signage, will also be rolled out to inform people about the changes.
“Some people might not know that fishing around these devices could cause distress to native fish seeking refuge,” Mr Marshall said.
“That’s why we’ll also be installing signage and implementing an education campaign so individuals have the information they need to do the right thing.”
The aerators were installed as part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Native Fish Rescue Strategy.