EASTERN freshwater cod, also referred to as Eastern cod or Clarence River cod, are an endangered species that is totally protected under NSW State and Commonwealth legislation.
They are an apex predator inhabiting freshwater streams within their natural range across north-eastern NSW. Found only in the Clarence and Richmond River catchments, their distribution and abundance has reduced significantly since European Settlement.
Eastern freshwater cod face several ongoing threats ranging from aquatic habitat degradation through to illegal fishing and capture.
Eastern freshwater cod breed during the months of August through to October. To further protect these iconic fish from accidental capture during their spawning season, a total fishing closure is seasonally placed over a large portion of their natural range where there are self-sustaining wild populations.
From 1 August 2023 through to the 31 October 2023, the waters of Mann River and its tributaries upstream of its junction with the Clarence River are closed to all forms of fishing activity. The fishing closure also includes a prohibition on possessing fishing gear in, on or adjacent to these seasonally closed waters.
Fisheries officers will be out monitoring for illegal fishing activity during the closure period. Officers will also be keeping an eye out for illegal dredging, reclamation and snag removal activity within rivers and streams, because damage to fish habitat is a major threat to Eastern freshwater cod and many other aquatic species.
Penalties for fishing during the closure period are significant and they range from $500 up to $22,000 upon prosecution. Similarly, the penalties for unlawful dredging and reclamation of waterways range from $1,000 up to $110,000 upon prosecution.
You can do your part to help protect fish and aquatic habitat by reporting suspect illegal fishing and damage to aquatic habitat to Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536 or online at https://fal.cn/3fMUz