Anglers urged to protect Mary River cod

THE Mary River Cod, one of Australia’s most endangered fish species, is listed as a no-take species under the Fisheries Act in 1994 to help preserve the remaining natural population.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) district officer Russell Overton said that the no-take classification requires fishers to return Mary River Cod back to the water unharmed if caught.

“Possessing Mary River Cod caught in its natural distribution is illegal in Queensland and can carry an on-the-spot fine of $440 or a maximum penalty of $110,000,” Mr Overton said.

“If caught unintentionally while targeting other species, care should be taken to ensure the fish is immediately returned unharmed to the water from which it came.

“If the hook cannot be successfully removed without harming the fish, try to cut the line as close to the hook as possible to give the fish the best possible chance of recovery.

Mr Overton said that studies have shown that growth rates and the ability to breed are reduced significantly in fish that are caught on a regular basis.

“It’s important we do everything we can to protect the natural population of this iconic native species,” he said.

“Fishers who regularly find they are unintentionally catching Mary River Cod should consider altering their fishing equipment or location to try to decrease the likelihood of catching the species.”

Mr Overton said that fishers could legally catch and keep Mary River Cod at the state’s stocked impoundments.

“Fishers are permitted to possess one Mary River Cod provided it is a minimum of 50cm in length and caught upstream of the walls of Cressbrook, Hinze, Maroon, Moogerah, North Pine, Somerset and Wivenhoe dams, and lakes Dyer (Bill Gunn Dam) and Clarendon,” he said.

“Outside these areas, Mary River Cod are strictly a no-take species.

“Regular patrols are conducted along the Mary River and its tributaries to ensure fishers are complying with the law.

“Members of the public can assist with the protection of Mary River Cod by reporting illegal taking or possessing to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

“To assist investigations, take note of personal details such as the offenders’ appearance, age, clothing, vehicle registration details and location, however, do not engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation.”

For more information on no-take species of fish in Queensland, visit or call 13 25 23.

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