First round of SA Murray cod stocking complete

MURRAY cod fingerlings were released into the River Murray on Tuesday in order to boost the population of the iconic species.

100,000 fingerlings in total are set to be released in the Riverland and Murraylands during the next few weeks as part of a initiative designed to boost recreational fishing in the South Australian section of the Murray River.

“Murray Cod is an iconic and extremely important species to recreational fishers and the River Murray community,” the minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell said.

“This is the first time stocking has been trialled in South Australia and the support from the river fishing community during the past 12 months has been brilliant. It’s an important step in determining whether stocking could be a viable option for establishing a healthy population of Murray cod in South Australia,” Bignell said.

The stocking of 50,000 fingerlings will take place near Kingston on Murray between Lock 3 and 4. The remaining 50,000 fingerlings will be released near Swan Reach, below Lock 1.

Fishing of Murray cod has been restricted since 2008, with the fishery closed to all activity in 2009 and opened for a limited catch and release season each year since 2011.

inline_571_ PIRSA Murray cod release Swan Reach 1_0D7AEE80-CAC0-11E5-9EC6022B1B212ADD.jpg
Image: PIRSA

Bignell said a successful stock enhancement program could deliver tourism and economic benefits to regional communities along the River Murray.

“As well as supporting the recovery of the species, the stocking program helps to revitalise the recreational fishery and attract many South Australian and interstate visitors to the region. This is great news for Murray cod, river fishers and the region,” he said.

The South Australian government estimates that around $150m is pumped into Murray River communities each year as a direct result of recreational fishing.

RecFish SA Executive David Ciaravolo said he was thrilled to see the stocking underway.

“RecFish SA have been strong advocates for stocking Murray Cod for many years. We’ve seen the success of stocking interstate, so now we have good reason to be very excited about the future of the fishery here in SA,” Ciaravolo said.

The project is led by PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, with an expert working group from SARDI Aquatic Sciences, DEWNR, RecFish SA and interstate stock enhancement experts.

The restocking project is being undertaken in conjunction with Fisheries Victoria, using fingerlings purchased from established interstate native fish hatcheries.

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