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The Lower-Darling Baaka is a socially, culturally and economically important region in the Murray-Darling Basin. The town of Menindee is situated at the heart of this region, near the Menindee Lakes. If this rings a bell, unfortunately it may be for the wrong reasons. The Lower Darling-Baaka has been featured heavily in the media as it has devastated by a series of fish kills. Read on about these events here. However, this story isn’t about hopelessness – it’s about the promising new updates coming out of the region and the people making it happen!

About 37, 000 large fish were sampled in the town weir in late 2023. Recently, the Lower-Darling Baaka Recovery Reach (LDBRR) released the latest Baaka Briefing, updating the community on all things fish. The current LDBRR Coordinator, Mick Bettanin, is feeling positive about the latest findings.

School children assisting with restocking of Murray cod and golden perch in Menindee and Pooncarie. Photo credit: NSW DPI 2021.

Recent updates

Preliminary analysis of fish biomass surveys using sonar technology estimated that there were approximately 37,000 fish above 20cm in length in the Menindee town weir pool during November 2023 and over 33,000 fish greater than 20cm in December 2023 (with a further 31,000 fish identified of a length between 5-19cm in December, noting detections are less accurate for fish less than 15cm). Most of the fish community was dominated by Carp; however native species were also detected including Bony Herring and Golden Perch.

Murray Cod. Source: NSW DPI
Golden Perch. Source: NSW DPI.

Sampling as part of various State and Commonwealth funded projects was recently undertaken in the Menindee town weir pool (week of April 29, 2024) and river reaches downstream of Pooncarie (week of May 6). This sampling caught Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Bony Herring, Spangled Perch and Australian Smelt, as well as Carp, with Murray Cod and Golden Perch in good condition and in reasonable numbers below Pooncarie.

DPI Fisheries will have teams out on the Darling-Baaka over the coming weeks progressing fish actions, including a range of research projects that will cover electro fishing, netting, and movement monitoring, as well as on-ground activities with local Aboriginal community representatives that aim to build awareness and capacity in fishing methods and opportunities.

Spangled Perch. Source: NSW DPI

After seeing so much devastation in the community, it is encouraging to see some of the recovery in action. The recent data is positive, both in the number of fish and the diversity of species. Find out more about the LDBRR below or read up on our other Recovery Reaches here.

Lower Darling Baaka Recovery Reach

This Recovery Reach is significant for native fish in the Murray-Darling Basin, home to iconic species such as Golden perch, Murray cod, Silver perch and Freshwater catfish, as well as a number of important small-bodied native fish species.

Featured image: Murray Cod.

Source: NSW DPI

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