Giving native fish at Menindee Lakes and Lower Darling-Baaka a better chance

The Albanese Labor Government is investing $2.3 million to better protect native fish in Menindee Lakes and the Lower Darling–Baaka.

The funding will be used to develop a business case for the construction of permanent fish passage in the area. 

Sadly, the communities in Menindee and the Lower Darling-Baaka know the devastating impact of large-scale native fish deaths like those in recent years. 

One of the reasons so many fish have died at Menindee is because they can’t escape poor water quality in the weir pool. 

While dissolved oxygen levels in the Lower Darling–Baaka in the Menindee weir pool have improved since the fish deaths in February and March this year, further fish deaths around Menindee are very possible this summer.

This project complements the NSW Government’s response to the Independent Review into the 2023 Mass Fish Deaths by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer. 

While management of the rivers lies with the states, the Federal Government is committed to providing assistance where possible to ensure we have sustainable and healthy rivers and to better protect our precious native species. 

That’s why the Government is investing this money, which will help mitigate future mass deaths and give our native fish a better chance of survival.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek:

“In the last 150 years, native fish populations have declined by more than 90 per cent. We have to turn this around before it’s too late.

“When I was in Menindee last month I heard how important a better fish passage in Menindee would be to help stop fish deaths. 

“That’s why we are investing in this project which will allow native fish to swim past physical barriers in the river and at Menindee Lakes, unlocking new areas for them to move, feed and seek refuge. 

“Measures like these fish ladders are important but alone won’t help our native fish – we need to restore flows to let the rivers run.

“That is why our government has introduced legislation to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full, to make sure we have healthy and sustainable rivers for the communities, agriculture and environment that depend on it.”