Fish Migration Education Event

TOUR OF WETLANDS AT KUKUJUM

1 September 2022

A tour of mangrove wetlands at Kukujum, or Ellie Point, is one of the activities planned for an event on 8 September at Cairns Airport.

Recreational fishers and lovers of coastal wetlands can visit a restricted access area in Cairns, learn about a new project to help fish move more freely through the mangrove habitat, and share their own knowledge of fish in the region.

Hosted by Cairns OzFish Unlimited Chapter, in partnership with Dawul Wuru’s Yirrganydji Land and Sea Rangers, Cairns Airport, Terrain NRM, Wet Tropics Waterways and James Cook University researchers, the event is aims to celebrate fish life and raising awareness about fish migratory habits.

OzFish’s Geoff Collins says for healthy fish stocks, we need well-connected free-flowing waterways.

“The Wet Tropics has some of the highest fish diversity in the country, but that diversity and the recreational fishing opportunities it affords is dependent on healthy and well-connected fish habitat.

“Our native fish need to move between wetlands and through waterways to access different habitats for different parts of their life cycle. Barriers, which can take many different forms, prevent them from finding food, from breeding and from escaping predators or degraded waterways.”

Dams, weirs and vertical drops caused by road crossings and culverts can stop fish in their tracks, as can high velocity water through pipes. Desktop studies have shown there are thousands of potential barriers in different Wet Tropics catchments.

OzFish Unlimited staff in front of fish passageway

Projects around the region are focused on fixing the most problematic, including a fish barrier at Kukujum (Ellie Point), where water will return to conditions that existed before the area was developed.

“Fixing the barrier will open up 1.5 kilometres of mangrove waterway and will improve water flow to 2km2 of mangrove wetland habitat’ Dr Collins said.  “The improved water flow will bring water quality and biodiversity benefits and that’s great news for a whole range of fish and other marine life.”

The event will include short interactive talks about fish barriers with environmental restoration practitioners, followed by a tour of the remediation site in mangrove wetlands at Kukujum.

“We are looking forward to showing people an example of a high priority fish barrier and taking them through the work that will go into removing it,” said Dr Collins.

“We would also like to hear from people who have local knowledge of other fish barriers.”

The event will be held on Cairns Airport land on Thursday 8 September (4pm-6.30pm). Registration is essential:

This event is supported by Terrain NRM through the Australian Government’s Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program.

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