Ozfish: Fish Motels in Moree

Fish motels in Moree become canvas for Dreamtime stories

OzFish recently worked alongside Landcare NSW and Miyay Birray Youth Group in Moree to support Indigenous culture of the Gomeroi/Kamilaroi nation.

Jay Barnett, team leader of the Moree River Repair Bus, led an educational session for young indigenous students focusing on the significance of waterway restoration and how installing fish motels creates new, intricate habitats for fish.

Local Indigenous youth then had an opportunity to share their cultural traditions by illustrating Dreamtime stories on logs that will soon be transformed into fish motels. They used a range of techniques, including burning and engraving to draw abstract patterns. These designs are symbolic, often representing elements of the natural world, intertwined with spiritual concepts and cultural knowledge.

See the full story: ozfish.org.au/2024/05/fish-motels-in-moree-become-canvas-for-dreamtime-stories/

Miyay Birray Youth Group

Ozfish: Don’t forget the little guys

Ozfish: Don’t forget the little guys

by Sean P. Graham, Ozfish

Let’s chat about the little guys in the water, those small fish we often overlook. In Australia, when people go fishing, they’re usually focused on the big catches like Murray cod and trout cod. But what about the little ones? The ones we call “gudgeons,” “guppies,” or just “white bait”? These small fish might not be the stars of the fishing world, but they sure deserve some attention.


Most of the native fish in Australia are actually small. Take the Murray Darling Basin, for instance. Out of all the fish species there, only about six are big enough to get anglers excited. The rest? They’re these cool little creatures like rainbowfish, Hardyheads, Galaxias, Perchlets, Pygmy Perches, and Gudgeons.

What’s wild is that most of these fish are found only in Australia, but sadly, they’re close to extinction. More than half of them in the Basin are threatened or endangered.

To see how one of our Women in Landcare finalists – Janet Heffernan – is doing to reverse this trend visit:  Don’t Forget About The Little Guys | OzFish Unlimited

Ozfish: Driving fish habitat action

Driving fish habitat action

The Driving Fish Habitat Action Project has again provided opportunities for joint projects between Landcare NSW member groups and local OzFish chapters.

The partnership project was proven over year one, two and now year three, and has now been backed for year four and five with funding from NSW Fisheries – providing the template for one of the most powerful NGO partnerships in NSW.

In year 3, OzFish, with NSW Landcare groups, funded 30 projects across freshwater and saltwater, which had a total value of $977,000. In year 4, OzFish, alongside NSW Landcare groups, funded 20 projects across freshwater and saltwater environments, with a total value of over $400,000. Some of the great outcomes achieved were, over 60 woody and 200 tonnes of rocky habitats installed, over 5km of riparian fencing installed to protect vital ecosystems for native fish and over 7,000 native plants planted. eDNA sampling was undertaken across NSW waterways to look for threatened fish species and to confirm suspected native fish sightings and over 10km of riparian weeds were removed.

Gunning District Landcare (GDL) has partnered with OzFish since 2022 and was recently featured in an article on OzFish’s website. One of GDL’s committee members, Janet Heffernan, has been striving to protect and conserve the endangered Southern Pygmy Perch for 20 years.  She works closely with representatives from OzFish and fish scientists from the Department of Primary Industries and the University of Canberra.

GDL was proud to receive a Scientific Collection Permit at the end of 2023 that allows their citizen scientists to sample local creeks for the Perch, and Janet is in the midst of a big round of sampling.

Gunning LLC, Leah Samson volunteered with her recently putting out fish traps and testing the water quality in Oolong Creek. And the result? They recorded 22 native fish!

Stay tuned for our Conservation Chronicles where we showcase the Gunning District Landcare and OzFish partnership.

March 2024

Images: Introducing a new pygmy perch population to Oolong Creek.

Media Release: Using water sampling to name the fish in our rivers!

Over the past 12 months, OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s fishing conservation charity, has taken fisher science to a new level using environment DNA (eDNA) technology to help determine where even the rarest of fish species can be found in the waterways.

With the support of the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery grant and the international charity, Global Giving, fishers have been able to utilise water samples and eDNA to identify and track fish species in waterways where restoration works are underway.

“Until now, sampling fish has been an epic challenge. There have been only a few ways to determine what fish are in your waterway, and most of those are either highly skilled tasks such as electrofishing or highly destructive, like netting. eDNA uses the fact that fish are constantly shedding scales containing their DNA and in the laboratory the species it came from can be identified, says OzFish’s Director of Habitat Programs, Cassie Price.

“eDNA sampling will help fishers to see the difference they are making to their local fish habitat. We are excited to see what some of the future sampling hold at our sites, as we suspect we will see greater fish diversity and stronger abundance at our sites as a result of our habitat restoration works, and this data will provide that evidence.

OzFish are widely using the eDNA sampling technology for fish and crayfish species across our bushfire and flood recovery sites across Qld, NSW and Victoria. And the early results have shown that they are supporting habitat recovery for some extremely rare and threatened species including; Eastern Cod, Macquarie Perch and Purple-Spotted Gudgeon. Plus finding some fish we would never have realised we were supporting such as rainbow fish, mountain galaxias, several other gudgeon species as well as Australian Smelt.

OzFish’s bushfire recovery projects have been funded by Global Giving, Landcare Australia and The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project which is supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

If you’re interested in OzFish’s fisher science activities, would like to learn how to collect eDNA samples from your local waterway, follow this LINK to discover more. Join in on some training. Or join us to keep in touch with upcoming training in your area.

If you would like to get involved with Landcare across the state contact Landcare NSW directly.



Media Contacts

Cassie Price, Director – Habitat Programs
0402 408 791| cassieprice@ozfish.org.au

Renee Ferenc, Director – Engagement and Culture
0402 019193 | reneeferenc@ozfish.org.au

Media Release: Landcare NSW and OzFish launches citizen science initiative to help bushfire affected waterways in NSW 

Joint Media Release

Monday 6th December

OzFish in partnership with Landcare NSW has today announced a state-wide citizen science program in a bid to monitor the recovery of waterways since the 2019-2020 Black Summer Bushfires.

Aptly named Waterway Fire Science, the project which is funded by the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program aims to mobilise community groups and recreational fishers to self-monitor the recovery of their local waterways. Volunteers will use a range of water sampling techniques that will contribute to ongoing research efforts and future bushfire recovery programs.

OzFish’s Project Officer for NSW South Coast, Lucas Kas is enthusiastic about the immediate impact citizen scientists can have.

“The more people we can get to roll up their sleeves and get out in the field to collect data, the clearer the picture we will have of the rate of recovery,” said Lucas.

“Understanding the way these systems are recovering is key to minimising the impact fires have in the future. It allows OzFish and our partners to see what activities will increase the resilience and revival of our waterways after fire events.”

“Bushfires are inevitable in Australia, but residents can now get involved in how to help habitat revive,” said Lucas.

OzFish and Landcare NSW are calling upon community members interested in making a positive contribution to their local waterways, to get involved.

Through the partnership, OzFish will provide training on identifying the impacts fire has on riparian vegetation, water quality and riverbank stability, as well as how to measure, monitor, respond to, and commence recovery of impacted waterways.

Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron said local Landcare groups, recreational fishers and individuals can access training and increase their skills and knowledge to make a real difference on the ground.

“Training will be provided through a series of both online and in-field workshops across NSW, of which the dates and locations will be announced in early 2022,” said Stephanie.

“Volunteers will also learn how to collect key readings of vegetation, as well as harnessing exciting new technologies like eDNA to confirm the presence of any species in the area.

“At each event all equipment will be provided to allow volunteers to carry out a range of monitoring techniques such as water bug sampling and mapping terrestrial and aquatic fauna using underwater cameras,” said Stephanie.

If you’d like to get involved or hear more about the project, head over to Waterway Fire Science – OzFish Unlimited and click on the Waterway Fire Science page under projects and register your interest now.

This Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project has been supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.


Interviews Available

Media Contacts
Jonathon Bleakley – Media Manager | OzFish Unlimited
Jonathonbleakley@ozfish.org.au | 0402171914

About OzFish 
OzFish Unlimited is a national fishing conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.

About Landcare NSW
Landcare NSW is the peak body and voice of community Landcare in NSW. Our mission is to care for the land and the environment. The Landcare movement is a community-based approach to managing and protecting our natural resources – creating more productive and sustainable farms, conserving our environment, and building more cohesive and resilient communities. Landcare connects you to on-ground activities where you can volunteer with like-minded individuals who have a passion for caring for country.


Media Release: Landcare NSW and OzFish driving fish habitat improvements in NSW

Joint Media Release

Monday 30th November

The Landcare NSW and OzFish partnership to deliver improved fish habitat in NSW has achieved close to one million dollars of habitat restoration work in its first twelve months.

With an initial investment from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts of $200 000, the two groups have attracted an additional $330,000 cash investment and over $500,000 in-kind support into fish habitat restoration work for the state’s inland rivers and coastal waterways.

The partnership focuses on local groups coming together to determine their waterway’s fish habitat needs and to take action to improve it. Under the expert guidance from the OzFish team, groups devised a range of projects including, re-snagging, trash racks, re-planting, fish monitoring, weeding, fencing and clean-ups.

Cassie Price, OzFish’s Director of Habitat Programs said, ‘We know everyone is having a challenging year, but it is amazing what Landcare and OzFish volunteers have achieved together despite the conditions out there on the ground.

“There are now 14,300 more trees along NSW riverbanks that will provide shade and stable water temperatures, insect fall and eventually snags for fish. Sixty more snags in our rivers installed which will provide instant homes, shelter and food for fish, along with 30km of riverbank weeded, cleaned up and restored. Plus a trash rack stopping litter, eight engagement events, and a search for a lost fish in Sydney.”

The real value in the partnership was seen in the mobilisation of five hundred recreational fishers and Landcarers who got involved in a wide variety of new restoration initiatives bringing ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the table and over 2,000 hours of volunteer time to improve their local waterway.

“There is a lot of work that goes into delivering these outcomes. It’s a credit to each of these communities, that they have dedicated groups willing to volunteer for their local rivers and for fish’ she said.

“We are happy to be celebrating the achievements of year one of our partnership, and the work continues,” Cassie said.

Landcare NSW CEO Adrian Zammit agreed, “Landcare NSW is thrilled to see this partnership deliver such amazing results for NSW. The results delivered so far are clear evidence that NRM challenges require close collaboration and partnerships between like-minded organisations.”

The project was made possible with funding support from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts and BCF Boating Camping and Fishing.


Support for your waterway project is now available through a new partnership


OzFish and Landcare are working together in NSW 

Together we can double our efforts for your local waterways, water quality and fish habitats.

If you’re doing great things for your local waterway – but could use some more hands and resources then this is the time to read more.

Have you been wanting to do a waterway project, but weren’t sure where to start? Need a hand with the planning so your group can get involved? Then look no further.

We’re calling for projects in NSW where OzFish and Landcare can work together. This quick online expression of interest form is all you need to complete and we’ll get in touch with you straight away.

Here’s 5 great reasons why you should:

  • Technical support from OzFish scientists for planning your waterway project
  • Fresh new project ideas with some innovative activities for your members
  • Extra volunteers through the OzFish and Landcare networks working together
  • Access to fundraising opportunities through OzFish major partner – BCF
  • Access to funding to leverage your grant applications from OzFish and their partner 

Need inspiration?
Your project could include; fish hotels, re-snagging, riparian vegetation, vegetative filter strips, litter clean ups, seagrass re-seeding, fish habitat mapping, removing in-stream barriers, pump-screening, stock fencing and troughs, saltmarsh restoration, oyster shell recycling and more!

Get in touch
If you would like to discuss your project idea or need help getting in touch with your local OzFish group or Landcare group, please get in touch, we can help you connect the dots. 

Braeden Lampard for inland areas on 0432 656 835 

Cassie Price for coastal areas on 0402 408 791