Fishers for fish habitat in Maroochy & Northern Moreton Bay

Fishers for fish habitat in Maroochy & Northern Moreton Bay


Tackling fish habitat through restoration & rehabilitation in Maroochy and Northern Moreton Bay.


Photo of the project launch with shellfish wallsEnhancing fish habitat through bank stabilisation and mangrove rehabilitation in the Maroochy and Northern Moreton Bay areas. 

Protecting and improving vegetation and biodiversity in the Maroochy and Nothern Moreton Bay areas to restore fish populations.

The project is a collaborative and strategic drive to improve the fish stocks of the popular Maroochy River, Pumicestone Passage, and Deception Bay.

The goal is the enhancement of fish habitat through bank stabilisation and mangrove rehabilitation along the Maroochy River canelands and Burpengary Creek, through the rehabilitation of the Coolum Creek Wetlands, and the restoration of in-stream shellfish habitat in the Pumicestone Passage and Maroochy estuary.

The project focuses on:

  • Habitat construction and restoration.
  • Increasing fish habitat awareness.
  • Promotion of the value of healthy marine and freshwater habitats and good water quality for marine life.
  • Improving and protecting the condition of the soil, biodiversity, and vegetation in the Maroochy and Northern Moreton Bay areas.
  • Involving fishers in recreational activities.


What we did

Photo of people planting native plants to revegetate on riverbankPromoting the active involvement of recreational fishers in strategic and collaborative fish habitat restoration.

The process to restore fish populations involves:

  • Bank stabilisation and mangrove rehabilitation.
  • In-stream shellfish habitat restoration.
  • Promotion of the value of healthy marine habitats.
  • Rehabilitation of the Cooloom Creek Wetlands.
  • Involvement of fishers with recreational activities.


Measuring success

As a result of this project, the following was achieved:

  • Protected and improved vegetation and biodiversity in the Maroochy River, Burpengary Creek, and Pumicestone Passage.
  • Engagement of 50 recreational fishers in strategic on-ground projects including augmentation of 1ha in-stream habitat and 5.8ha of riparian and wetland rehabilitation including saltmarsh.
  • Enhancement of fish abundance and diversity in the Maroochy estuary and Pumicestone Passage by 50%.
  • Increased bank stability and mangrove habitat in Burpengary Creek.
  • Restoration of the ecological character of two Ramsar sites in Pumicestone Passage and Burpengary Creek.


Why this project is important

Since European settlement, the Maroochy River has been heavily impacted by agriculture, urban and industrial development, and high tourism numbers.

Most of the area was once covered in sugarcane.

A combination of factors influences bank erosion. This process is mainly due to undercutting into sandy materials within the tidal range, and consequent bank collapse that produces a change and variation in the fish habitat as well as a decrease in flood mitigation.

The absence of shellfish in the area is concerning, as they have been proven to support the growth of harvestable fish populations and contribute to water clarity; taking steps for ecological remediation is even more crucial for this area.

Building resilience in the ecosystem is required before the system deteriorates further. 


Project snapshot

Project name:  Fishers for fish habitat Maroochy & Northern Moreton Bay
Project manager:  Patrick Malone & Cathy Brinkley, Healthy Land & Water
Project team:  Gabriella Shuster
Catchment:  Moreton Bay, Maroochy
Timing: 2020 – 2023
Budget: $300,000
Partnerships:  This habitat restoration program is run in collaboration with Ozfish and funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
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What's next

There is huge potential to build on the successful work.


Project collaborators

This habitat restoration project is funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program and implemented in collaboration with Ozfish.

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