Thanks to a specially engineered construction in the river’s lower reaches, fish numbers in Geelong’s Barwon River are set to grow.
The lower tidal barrage to enable fish to bypass
Corangamite Catchment Management Authority has built a fish-way at the lower tidal barrage to enable fish to bypass the weir and migrate upstream for breeding
The barrage was built more than 100 years ago to prevent saltwater entering the river. However, the large weir has also prevented migratory fish from accessing the upper reaches of the river, until now.The fish passageway is made of a series of concrete culverts forming a ladder in the riverbank. Running water at the opening is designed to entice fish to enter and start their upstream journey.
Corangamite CMA senior river health officer Denis Lovric said surveys had already shown the native fish such as mullet, tupong and galaxids using the fish-way, while the hope was for other natives like estuary perch and black bream to spread upstream.
'Fish were observed moving upstream within an hour of opening the fish-way so we’re really excited about this project,' Mr Lovric said.
'Upstream fish passage is an essential biological requirement for most native fish species and is particularly important at tidal barriers for juvenile fish to move upstream and away from predators,' he said. Surveying will continue later this year to determine the effect of the new fish passage.
Fisheries Victoria senior fisheries management officer Peter Lawson said it was great to see completion of this project after significant planning.'We look forward to future monitoring results. The fish-way will allow migration of key native fish species, providing further recreational fishing opportunities for the public,' Mr Lawson said.
The project, which was two years in the planning and took two weeks to construct, was funded by the Victorian Government, including funding from recreational fishing licence fees, with support from VR Fish, Fisheries Victoria and Parks Victoria.