What are fish friendly structures?

Fish friendly structures are those that:

  • Cause minimal disturbance to the existing environment; and
  • Incorporate design features that provide an enhanced habitat in which endemic fish can live.

Figure 1: Conceptual fish friendly jetty comparison
Figure 1: Conceptual fish friendly jetty comparison

When should fish friendly structures be considered?

Any necessary aquatic infrastructure may be designed to be fish friendly. The creation of artificial fish friendly structures does not justify disturbance to natural habitats but it can help mitigate impacts of a development.

Examples of infrastructure that may be designed and constructed in a fish friendly manner include, but are not limited to, small boat harbours and marinas, jetties, pontoons, boat ramps, erosion protection structures, boardwalks, mooring buoys and fishing platforms.

Fish friendly design features can be included in structures designed for both marine and freshwater environments.

What are the benefits that fish friendly structures may bring?

Potential benefits include:

  • Protection from predators
  • Feeding opportunities
  • Shelter from currents
  • Settlement habitat for recruitment.

What design features make a fish friendly structure?

Fish friendly structure design features include:

  • Minimal development footprint
  • Construction materials that are natural, or promote growth of aquatic plants and animals. They do not release substances harmful to fish health or productivity.
  • Increased surface area and interstitial spaces to create habitat complexity
  • Variety of habitat enhancements at all water depths
  • Consideration of habitat requirements for local species and avoid harboring known pests to the area
  • Maintenance of fish passage and natural water flows
  • Best practice construction
  • Strength, durability and ease of maintenance
  • Minimal shading of fish habitats.

What to consider when planning and constructing a fish friendly structure?

When planning and constructing a fish friendly structure:

  • avoid sensitive or critical fish habitats
  • consider fish friendly enhancements early in the planning process so that they are integrated into the design of the structure
  • minimise disturbance of fish habitats
  • recognise the risks and benefits that artificial structures bring
  •  improve fish habitat values of existing structures
  •  enhance fishing access
  • avoid construction during critical biological events
  • consider monitoring the success of the fish friendly structure
  • educate and engage with the community e.g. appropriate signage
  • artificial structures are not surrogates for natural habitats.

What are fishing friendly structures?

Land based fishing is an affordable recreation valued by many fishers in Queensland. Fishing friendly structures are those that can provide all fishers with safe, enjoyable and enhanced access to fishing grounds.

What to consider when planning and constructing a fishing friendly structure?

Fishing platforms should be located where minimal damage to natural habitats is required and, in coastal areas, where there is sufficient water depth to allow fishing at all stages of the tide.

It is preferable to provide a dedicated fishing platform to avoid use conflict e.g. boat mooring versus fishing.

Fishing platforms work best when they provide suitable access and ease of use for all fishers, and incorporate some of the following:

  • Lighting for night time fishing (not recommended in turtle hatchling areas)
  • Rod holders
  • Cleaning stations with water supply
  • Fish measuring stations, including signage to promote recreational fishing education e.g. size and possession limits
  • TAngler bins to recycle old fishing line
  • Disabled access
  • Shade and safety rails for safe fishing

Fishing friendly structures can also include fish friendly design features to provide additional fish habitat.

Figure 2: Fishing friendly jetty
Figure 2: Fishing friendly jetty