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Fish aerators, rescue efforts raise hopes that drought-stricken rivers can be restocked

David Claughton, Friday February 15, 2019 - 12:24 EDT
ABC licensed image
This aerator has been installed at Texas Downs on the Lower Darling. - ABC licensed

As warnings sound about , a small team of researchers hope they will be able to re-stock the river when the drought finally breaks.

One hundred large fish were rescued from Menindee in recent weeks and moved to the Narrandera Fisheries Centre while to provide a refuge for fish starved of oxygen.

According to the New South Wales Regional Water Minister Niall Blair said the rescue effort has been working.

"Murray cod, golden perch and silver perch were among the native species rescued, and all adjusting well to their new surroundings," Mr Blair said.

There are plans to trial micro-bubble oxygenation technology at the fisheries centre next week.

Sonar vision of the water around the aerators on the Darling River near Menindee shows thousands of fish swimming around them.

Mr Blair said these were promising signs, although the number of fish that have already died is dwarfing the rescue effort.

"The vision shows mostly native species such as bony herring and the occasional carp swimming at the aerator site in the Darling River at the Menindee Creek inlet," he said.

Researchers are counting the fish and looking at how effective the aerators are.

"Researchers will then try and associate these with dissolved oxygen and temperature measurements, that were taken at the same time, which will give some insights into the effectiveness of this kind of technology," he said.

"We know that moving 100 fish doesn't compare to the hundreds of thousands that were lost.

"But I am hopeful that these small relocation projects will allow us to breed hundreds of thousands of fingerlings that can find a home once again in the much loved Darling River."


© ABC 2019

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