• Reef balls being prepared for deployment on the shores of Yerrabi Pond in Canberra's north. Photo: Shane Jasprizza
    Reef balls being prepared for deployment on the shores of Yerrabi Pond in Canberra's north. Photo: Shane Jasprizza
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NATIVE fish habitat in Canberra's Yerrabi Pond is receiving a boost, thanks to the Capital Region Fishing Alliance, ACT Government and funding from the ACT Environment Grants program.

Forty-eight "reef balls", hollow concrete domes of varying sizes, are being deployed by crane at several locations around the Pond to provide additional habitat for stocked Murray cod and golden perch.

President of the Capital Region Fishing Alliance, Shane Jasprizza said this trial deployment will be monitored to gauge the success of the reef balls in improving native fish habitat and fish numbers in the Pond.

"Our local lakes are relatively devoid of habitat suitable for native fish, with most being cleared when they were constructed" said Mr Jasprizza.

"Reef balls have proven successful in coastal lakes and estuaries, increasing species diversity and overall fish numbers, but this is the first time we know of that they have been trialled on freshwater native species. If successful, we hope to expand the program to other urban lakes and ponds".

The artificial habitat should complement the existing native fish stocking program, with the aim of enhancing local recreational fishing opportunities; the main focus of the Capital Region Fishing Alliance.

"A 2012 study released by the Murray Darling Basin Recreational Fishing Council has shown anglers spend around $1.3billion annually in the Basin" said Mr Jasprizza.

"Enhancing our fishing opportunities for native species here in Canberra will see more people fishing locally instead of spending their money travelling outside the ACT".

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