Fish-friendly structures

Creating artificial fish-friendly structures does not justify disturbance to natural habitats, but it can help mitigate impacts of a development.

Fish-friendly structures:

  • cause minimal disturbance to the existing environment
  • incorporate design features that provide an enhanced habitat in which native fish species can live
  • mitigate the impacts of development activities.

Native fish species benefit from fish-friendly design, which may provide and enhance:

  • fish passage
  • protection from predators
  • feeding opportunities
  • shelter from currents
  • breeding and nursery habitat.

When to use

Consider fish-friendly design for any necessary aquatic infrastructure in marine or freshwater:

  • small boat harbours and marinas
  • jetties
  • pontoons
  • boat ramps
  • erosion protection structures
  • boardwalks
  • mooring buoy
  • fishing platforms.

Plan and construct

  • Avoid sensitive or critical fish habitats.
  • Avoid construction during critical biological events.
  • Consider fish friendly design early in the planning process.
  • Consider habitat requirements for local species and avoid harboring known pests to the area.
  • Recognise the risks and benefits that artificial structures bring.
  • Improve fish habitat values of existing structures.
  • Enhance fishing access.
  • Monitor the success of the fish friendly structure.
  • Educate and engage with the community, e.g. including appropriate signage.

Design features

  • Minimal development footprint.
  • Construction materials that are natural, or promote growth of aquatic plants and animals.
  • Construction material that is free of harmful substances that could be released.
  • Increased surface area and interstitial spaces to create habitat complexity.
  • Variety of habitat enhancements at all water depths.
  • Maintenance of fish passage and natural water flows.
  • Best practice construction.
  • Strength, durability and ease of maintenance.
  • Minimal shading of fish habitats.

Example of a fish-friendly jetty design

Figure 1: Conceptual fish friendly jetty comparison

Recreational fishing platforms

Fishing-friendly structures provide Queensland recreational fishers with safe, enjoyable and enhanced access to fishing grounds. If possible, it should be a dedicated fishing platform, to avoid conflict with other uses like boat mooring or swimming.

Locate platforms:

  • where minimal damage to natural habitats is required to install them
  • in coastal areas, where there is sufficient water depth to allow fishing at all stages of the tide.

Ensure they are easy to use by all fishers:

  • accessible features such as ramps for wheelchair users
  • lighting for night time fishing (not recommended in turtle hatchling areas)
  • rod holders
  • cleaning stations with water supply
  • fish measuring stations
  • signage to promote recreational fishing education, e.g. size and possession limits
  • TAngler bins to recycle old fishing line
  • shade and safety rails for safe fishing.