Talking Fish – telling tales and making connections with the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin

Wednesday 23 November, 2011
Stories about people and their rivers

Stories about people and their rivers

This year’s Native Fish Awareness Week featured the launch of Talking Fish—a new booklet series highlighting a collection of stories, anecdotes and images about ‘what the fishing used to be like’ across the Murray-Darling Basin. 

The rivers and creeks of the Murray-Darling Basin flow through much of the south-eastern states of Australia, including Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia.   The Basin is linked by 77,000km of waterways, which covers about 1/7th of Australia’s mainland, made up of 23 catchments over an area of 1 million square kilometres.

Talking Fish – “Goulburn” was recently launched in Shepparton as part of the Native Fish Awareness Weeks Native Fish Forum by Liz Baker (from DPI NSW) and Donny Richter, one of the interviewees whose stories are captured in the booklet. Each river has its own character yet the fish, the plants, and the people that rely on them are all different. 

Wayne Tennant, Manager of Strategic River Health with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Member of the Murray Darling Basin’s Native Fish Taskforce said “Across the Basin, there is a growing recognition the health of our rivers is at risk and that the populations of native fish have seriously declined. There are also major efforts underway by many communities, locally and around the Basin, to protect the health of rivers and native fish.”

“Talking Fish was designed to give people a sense of just what these magnificent rivers and their fish were once like,” he explains.

The booklets in this series include stories from individuals from a range of communities. The stories highlight how the rivers, fish and fishing are valued by the community and how they have changed over time. 

“Of course there are many other great stories about fishing in the Murray-Darling Basin out there. These booklets are just the beginning” adds Mr Tennant.

By learning from the past we can use the information on which to define goals for the future management of our streams and native fish.

The Talking Fish project arose from an increasing realisation that many different groups of people, including fishers, Indigenous communities, tourists and landholders have developed unique relationships with the rivers of the Murray Darling Basin.

The Talking Fish project focused on 12 reaches with local systems the Goulburn River, Ovens River and Murray River being included within the current series.

Other streams featured in the Talking Fish series include:  Namoi (NSW), Upper Condamine River (Qld), Katarapko Creek (SA), Upper Murrumbidgee River (NSW / ACT), Culgoa - Balonne Rivers (Qld / NSW), Paroo River (Qld), Darling and the Great Anabranch (NSW), Darling River (NSW), and the Coorong and Lower Lakes (SA).

To read more about your local river or the Talking Fish project visit www.nativefishweek.com.au.


For further information please contact: 

Amanda McClaren, Communications and Marketing Manager 
t: 03 5820 1117   m: 0459 023 640   e: amandam@gbcma.vic.gov.au