Daly River tourism operators call for government action to protect river flows and local fishing industry

31 Aug 2021

Tourism operators from the Daly River region have written to the Northern Territory Government, outlining their concerns about proposed large-scale cotton operations further upstream.

“The Daly River is widely regarded as the premier Barramundi sports fishing location in Australia. Tourists from far and wide travel to the NT to try and catch one of the Daly’s legendary Barramundi and explore one of the most beautiful and healthy rivers in Northern Australia,” said Harold Sinclair, who operates a recreational fishing business on the Daly River.

“Fishing tournaments held here inject many dollars into the NT economy and significantly boost the Territory’s tourism brand. Business owners like myself have financially invested in developing and growing the infrastructure with a long term operational business plan based on Barramundi fishing.”

NT Minister for Small Business and Recreational Fishing Paul Kirby is today attending a community meeting in Daly River, to address concerns raised by local businesses.

“Many of us have concerns about the increasing demands for water access from large Agribusiness companies seeking to expand operations in the Daly catchment. We are proud hard working business people, we’re creating jobs, and we know what is sustainable here at the Daly,” said Mr Sinclair.

The NT Government is currently developing a surface water policy to allow capture of overland flows. Tourism operators have expressed concerns that this could have impacts for the health of the river, and therefore the many tourism operations and jobs that depend upon it.

“Many years of scientific research has firmly established that a healthy Barramundi Fishery relies on regular wet season floods. These floods create highly productive ecosystems on the floodplains and billabongs and explode with life – particularly the local Barramundi,” said marine ecologist Jason Fowler from Territory Rivers: Keep ‘em Flowing.

“Floodplain ‘harvesting’ of water may have serious effects on the size and duration of floods which would be disastrous for healthy Barramundi stocks and the vibrant tourism industry that relies on them. We shouldn’t be risking Territory jobs, businesses and lifestyle in favour of big business coming up from down South,” said Mr Fowler.

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