Head of NSW threatened fishes committee resigns over approval of Snowy 2.0

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Redfin perch will have significant impacts on critically endangered native fish species. Image: Ken Smith

THE chair of the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee, associate professor Mark Lintermans from the University of Canberra, has resigned in response to the NSW government’s approval of the controversial Snowy 2.0 - Snowy Hydro scheme.

The scheme proposes to construct a 27km tunnel to pump water from Talbingo Reservoir on the Tumut River to Tantangara reservoir on the upper Murrumbidgee. The scheme will also likely transfer invasive fish species from Talbingo to Tantangara.

“I cannot continue to serve a government that so willfully ignores the destructive impacts of Snowy 2.0 on two threatened fish species,” said Associate Professor Lintermans.

“The transfer of the invasive species climbing galaxias and redfin perch will have significant impacts on the critically endangered stocky galaxias and the endangered Macquarie perch,” Professor Lintermans said.

“Stocky galaxias are confined to a single 3km section of a small stream in Kosciuszko National Park, upstream of a waterfall that excludes trout. Unfortunately, the waterfall will not prevent the climbing galaxias from invading the stocky galaxias population, with climbing galaxias expected to prey upon and compete with its critically endangered colleague.”

The NSW Government has granted an exemption to Snowy Hydro from two critical provisions of the NSW Biosecurity Act which are designed to prevent the transfer of invasive species.

“It is unprecedented for a government to grant an exemption that will likely cause the extinction in the wild of a species,” Lintermans said.

Professor Lintermans has called for an independent review of the threats, mitigation measures, and long-term impacts.

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