ESR 16:165-181 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00398

A strategy to rehabilitate fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin, south-eastern Australia

John D. Koehn1,*, Mark Lintermans2

1Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 123 Brown St, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
2Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

ABSTRACT: The Native Fish Strategy (NFS) for the Murray-Darling Basin, south-eastern Australia, provides a whole-of-fish-community approach and coordinated direction for the rehabilitation of its severely degraded native fish populations. Together with actions outlined in recovery plans for threatened species, the NFS addresses priority threats identified for native fishes with the aim to rehabilitate native fish populations to 60% (current populations are estimated to be at about 10%) of the levels that existed prior to European settlement. The NFS has a 50 yr time frame and coordinates actions across 6 different management jurisdictions. A key component of the NFS is the engagement of communities and stakeholders, with this being undertaken, in particular, by the use of dedicated coordinators and the development of ‘demonstration reaches’ where rehabilitation can be undertaken using multiple actions, with community involvement. The NFS is supported by targeted research projects and monitoring within an adaptive management framework. The NFS provides an effective partnership model where central coordination, coupled with focused jurisdictional actions, can deliver benefits to all governments. It synthesises and disseminates knowledge, integrates research and management and catalyses actions for priority problems. The need, objectives, evolution and development, achievements, strengths and weaknesses of the NFS are presented. The NFS approach would be suitable for many large river basins throughout the world.


KEY WORDS: Australia · Rehabilitation · Fish populations · Native Fish Strategy · Threatened species · Native fish


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Cite this article as: Koehn JD, Lintermans M (2012) A strategy to rehabilitate fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin, south-eastern Australia. Endang Species Res 16:165-181

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