The northern Central Highlands of Victoria, to the north east of Melbourne is heavily forested hilly country that harbours endangered species, rainforest and wonderful mountain ash forests. A number of rivers, including the Rubicon and Snobs Creek, flow north, joining the Goulburn system. Sadly, the area has been heavily logged for decades.
This logging has been strongly resisted by locals (see for instance this report from 2018). Protest has focused on the environmental and economic impacts (there is a small eco tourism industry that operates in the region). But a threat to water quality, and hence a fish hatchery that relies on that water, has been gaining media interest lately.
A fish hatchery that provides species for hundreds of waterways across Victoria is under threat due to logging.
The Snobs Creek Fish Hatchery near Eildon provides fish for over 200 waterways and breeds the threatened Murray cod and the endangered Macquarie perch and trout cod.
The ABC reports that:
‘It also contributes billions of dollars to the angling industry annually.
Aquatic scientist and president of Native Fish Australia Tim Curmi said the catchment needed to be preserved.
“No-one seems to care that the future of two endangered species, and the breeding of small endangered fish, is at stake,” he said.
Anglers consider it the backbone of recreational fishing in the state, contributing $2.8 billion annually to the sector.
Snobs Creek environmentalist Rod Falconer had been testing water quality in the area and believed deforestation had caused murkiness to increase in the waterways.
“Once you start logging in areas you start to change the biodiversity of the forest, which is critical for fish.”
The Victorian Government earmarked the logging of more than 1,500 hectares of catchment in the area and Mr Curmi said he believed the logging would severely decrease water yield in the future’.
IMAGE: Clear-fell logging at Snobs Creek, from ABC website.