Trout cod fingerlings released into Macquarie River

APPROXIMATELY 21,500 trout cod fingerlings were released into the Macquarie River downstream of Bathurst on Wednesday 9th December under the ‘Species Recovery Plan’ for this threatened species. The fish were bred at NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Narrandera Fisheries Centre and transported to the release sites in the Macquarie River by hatchery manager Matthew McLellan. The NSW Government funded the release, supported by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, which are funded by the recreational fishing licence fee. The 40mm long fingerlings have been calcein marked to allow easy identification of the stocked fish in any follow up study.

Trout cod are endemic to the southern Murray-Darling system including the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers and the Macquarie River in central NSW. Local landholders, regional volunteers from the Central Acclimatisation Society and DPI staff from Bathurst helped coordinate and assisted Mr McLellan with the release of the trout cod which were in excellent condition. In excess of 150,000 trout cod have been released into the Macquarie River above Burrendong Dam since 2009.
The recovery of trout cod relies on an ongoing concerted effort by government authorities, local councils and the wider community. Harming trout cod is illegal so it is important that fishers can distinguish trout cod from the similar looking Murray cod. It is an offence to take, attempt to take, harm or be in possession of trout cod & they must be immediately returned to the water if accidentally caught.

Several anglers have reported catching and releasing trout cod in the Macquarie River above Burrendong Dam in recent years while fishing for Murray cod & golden perch indicating positive signs relating to the success of the stocking program. Although several sightings of mature fish have been reported as yet it is not known whether trout cod have successfully bred from recent stocking events. Sightings of trout cod can & have been reported to NSW DPI by anglers filling out a Protected, threatened and pest species sighting form available on the Fisheries website.

Other protected fish species captured & reported in the Macquarie River above Burrendong Dam include silver perch and eel tailed freshwater catfish. A National Recovery Plan for trout cod has been in place since 1994, with a revised plan being adopted in March 2001. The overall objective of this recovery plan is to prevent the extinction and ensure the recovery and ongoing viability in nature of trout cod populations in NSW. Other recovery plans exist for Murray cod and silver perch.
More information can be found on the Fisheries website.

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