FISHING out shopping trolleys and hard rubbish from the Queanbeyan River has become a regular activity for the city's council staff.
A bicycle, two shopping trolleys and a sofa were pulled from the river last week – a haul Queanbeyan City Council's Natasha Abbott said was common.
"We are finding these sorts of items regularly," she said. "This amount of rubbish is usual but I think we are getting more shopping trolleys than in the past."
Ms Abbott said council staff had been working in partnership with local supermarkets to tackle the trolley-dumping problem but that changing public attitudes towards river use was difficult.
"We are currently working with several of our large supermarkets for trolley control and we are impounding trolleys," she said.
"The dumping of rubbish is usually done at night and there is no one around.
"It is a challenge to change the behaviour."
While Ms Abbott said much of the hard rubbish didn't leach pollution, many items like shopping trolleys posed a risk of trapping wildlife such as platypus.
The latest load of hard rubbish was pulled from the river during the council's native fish restocking effort last week.
Queanbeyan City councillor Sue Whelan joined St Gregory's Primary School students on the bank of the river at Trinculo Place, one of the three sites used to release 12,500 Murray Cod fingerlings into the waterway.
Cr Whelan said rubbish dumped in the river cost the environment and the ratepayer to remove but was part of the task of protecting the health of river and its fish stocks.
"There are environmental issues with dumping," Cr Whelan said. "In removing any sort of graffiti or removing litter out of the river, there is a cost to doing that."
The council couldn't estimate how much the retrieval effort was costing ratepayers but said a team of three council staff were sent out on a boat every month to remove rubbish they could see along the waterway.
Ms Abbott said managing dumped rubbish and fish re-stocking all contributed to the council's goal of maintaining river health.
The latest restock of native Murray Cod fingerlings was the largest effort the council had embarked upon.
"We have put in up to 7500 before but this is more than what we have usually done," she said.
Canberra Fisherman's Club president Glen Malam said he, like many local fisherman, had an interest in cleaning up the local waterways.
"One of the problems we have is the lakes are overrun with European carp," Mr Malam said.
"Carp breed at an incredible rate and are resistant to the turbidity they create. They are an imported fish, they are not suitable and they make life hard for the native Australian sport fish."
Mr Malam said he and his members fished all the waterways from the coast to the snowy mountains.
He said a co-operative effort was vital to ensure the heath of local waterways wasn't lost.
"The aquatic environment will gradually degrade, and all sorts of things like algal blooms that go with that if we don't do something," he said.
"The fish don't recognise borders and we have to work in concert."
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