THE fish rescue operation near Bingara has been deemed a success.
Over three days, the rescue team of four government experts and 10 local volunteers saved 52 targeted species, and hundreds of small-bodied native fish.
A spokesperson for NSW Department of Industries (DPI) said Murray cod, freshwater catfish, bony herring and golden perch were among the species targeted.
They were taken from several sites around Bingara, mostly from the Horton River which is already drying up and some from the Gwydir River.
"Fish suitable for broodstock purposes were taken to the hatchery facility and Bingara to be cared for," the DPI spokesperson said.
"These fish will form broodstock and will be used in future breeding seasons once they have returned to good condition.
"Fish that were removed from the drying sections of the Horton River were released in larger and deeper pools in the Gwydir River that offer better habitat and opportunities for survival of these fish."
All the rescued fish were transported in purpose built, large oxygenated tanks on vehicles designed for fish movement.
"Unfortunately, due to the drying nature of the habitats that these fish were removed from, the health and condition of a number of these fish was poor to moderate," the DPI spokesperson said.
"As a result, four Murray cod died after being rescued. These fish would have died if left in the drying pools."
The Bingara rescue follows a two-week operation in Mendiee, were almost 800 fish were relocation.