Rehabilitating Native Fish Populations in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin: Integrating Research, Management and Community Advocacy
In 2004, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) implemented a 50-year strategy to address key threats to native fish. The Native Fish Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basinadopted an ecosystem-based approach incorporating research and contemporary ecological knowledge to inform on-ground management to improve the status of native fishes. The strategy emphasised rehabilitation through actions to address key threats and included research, policy and operational changes, structural rehabilitation measures and engagement of an array of stakeholders. It also had strong community support. Funding for the NFS was discontinued in 2013 yet the impetus has been sustained and aspects are now being used to support the restoration of flow regimes in the MDB to promote ecosystem health. Close co-operation between scientists, managers and the community is essential if rehabilitation of native fish populations is a realistic goal.