Wild Fisheries with a Future

The Lakes and Coorong Commercial Fishery is an inland and inshore waters community fishery, in the upper southeast region of South Australia. >> see maps

Estuarine, saltwater and freshwater species are harvested by the license holders stretches in the area from the Wellington ferry on the River Murray, the waters of Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, the waters of the Coorong lagoons and estuary, and the beach and coastal waters from the Murray Mouth to Kingston SE.

It has been commercially fished since 1846, with a number of generational fishing families (some going back 5 generations), still conducting their activities in the area. This gives fishers an intimate knowledge of the environment and an understanding of the history that has shaped the development of the fishery.

This in addition to the owner-operator policy and the commitment to low impact fishing methods means the fishery has an ecosystem based focus and strong community links. The pro-active approach to their business has fishers participating in numerous activities and initiatives.

It has become a highly modified system, following the construction of barrage network from 1935 to 1940, when 89% of estuary turned into fresh water. The impacts of man’s interference in the natural regime include reverse/summer flooding, riparian zone modification, introduced species, massive water usage and flow modification and pollution. Yet despite this 90% of value comes from 10% of the original estuary with the landed wharf value of the fishery approx. $5.4m (Econsearch Report 2003/04).