Appalling water management is to blame for the complete eradication of the iconic Murray Cod in stretches of the Darling-Baaka River in New South Wales.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Monitoring, Evaluation and Research program’s 2022 survey found not one single Murray Cod between Bourke and Louth.
Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Mumford says the native fish is being lost because too much water is being taken from the Murray Darling Basin.
“While it's great to see inland rivers and wetlands full of water now, the floods are not enough to combat terrible water management decisions that have led to this disaster.
“The Coalition Government in NSW has enacted some shocking pieces of water management legislation. Recent droughts are ignored when irrigation allocations are worked out. The gradual stroll-out of compulsory irrigation extraction meters is so overdue that it's embarrassing.
“It's no wonder that community outrage has led to the Upper House disallowing disgraceful floodplain harvesting regulations a record 4 times - the Perrottet Government is hellbent on giving away too much water and letting our incredible fish and wildlife vanish,” said Ms Mumford.
Before the development of inland rivers with thousands of weirs, huge public dams and industrial scale corporate irrigation, the Darling-Baaka River teemed with an amazing array of aquatic life. The territorial Murray Cod could grow to 1.8 metres in length and weigh over 10 kilograms.
Ms Mumford says the fate of the Murray Cod is an alarming taste of what's to come for the Basin unless more water is bought back to stay in rivers.
“The NSW Government can try all it likes to convince us that the Darling-Baaka used to regularly dry up like it did in 2019, but the disappearance of an entire species doesn't lie. The collapse of the Darling-Baaka is happening before our eyes as a result of the politics of greed.”
Contact: Mel Gray 0431 471 310