The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working along the Goulburn River between Seymour and Nagambie in the coming weeks to increase the amount of large woody habitat, or snags, in the Goulburn River, with the aim to increase in the native fish population and diversity in this section of the river.


Funded by the Victorian Government, through revenue from Recreational Fishing Licenses to improve recreational fishing in Victoria and the Goulburn Broken CMA, the snags are being placed in the Goulburn River, downstream of the Hume Freeway Bridge near Seymour. The works that are being carried out will lead to an increase in habitat for native fish in the area and an improvement in catch rates for recreational fishers.


Native fish ecologists from the Murray Darling Basin Authority estimate that fish populations have declined by 90% since European settlement. There have been many threats to native fish including removal of in-stream and riparian habitat and flow modification.


Snags are the inland equivalent of coastal reefs and provide habitat for native fish and other animals such as tortoises and native water rats. Native fish use them to shelter from fast currents and sunlight and take refuge from predation. Native fish also use snags as feeding and spawning sites, and as nursery areas for juvenile fish.


Recent fish surveys within the Murray Darling Basin have found that 80% of Murray Cod are found within 1 metre of a snag. All large bodied freshwater native fish use snags as habitat.


The areas to be re-snagged have been identified via in-stream habitat mapping undertaken in 2011 by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) in the Goulburn River between the Mitchellstown and Hume Freeway Bridges to identify areas that have a low density of snags. The sites where the Goulburn CMA carry out re-snagging are being selected based on priority zones identified by ARI as a result of this mapping, and access to the waterway within these zones.


The fallen trees used for the re-snagging project have been sourced from a number of nearby locations, including the Nagambie Bypass and a public reserve in Seymour. The Goulburn Broken CMA and its contractors work to rigorous guidelines that have been developed in other locations where re-snagging has been carried out over many years.


This project is funded by the Department of Primary Industries Recreational Fishing Licence Grants Scheme, which uses revenue raised from the sale of recreational fishing licences to fund projects that directly improve recreational fishing in Victoria.