Trout cod release in Macquarie River, NSW

Central Acclimatisation Society volunteer Jay Flanagan releasing Trout Cod.

TWENTY-SIX thousand trout cod fingerlings were released into the Macquarie River downstream of Bathurst, NSW, on Wednesday, December 5. The fish were bred at NSW DPI Narrandera Fisheries Centre and transported by road to the release sites by Hatchery Manager, Mathew McLellan.

The latest release, funded by the NSW Government and supported by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, which are in turn funded by recreational fishing licence fees, brings the total number of trout cod restocked into this stretch of the Macquarie River under the ‘Species Recovery Plan’ for this threatened species to around 188,000 fish.

The fish are calcein marked at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre to allow easy identification of the stocked fish in any follow up studies, which can determine whether the stocked fish have undertaken natural recruitment once they reach maturity.

Narrandera Fisheries Centre Hatchery Manager Matthew McLellan netting fish from the tanker.

Trout cod were once widespread and abundant in the southern Murray-Darling system, including the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers and the Macquarie River in central NSW.

Mr McLellan said the last known reproducing population of trout cod is confined to the Murray River below Yarrawonga downstream to Tocumwal. “The re-establishment of trout cod at a small number of locations represents positive signs for the future recovery of the species. Trout cod are still considered to be in danger of extinction from a number of factors including habitat destruction, modification and degradation as well as illegal fishing activities and the adverse impacts of alien species such as redfin perch, carp and gambusia.”

Matthew Mclellan, Jay Flanagan and landholder John Howarth.

“The recovery of trout cod relies on an ongoing concerted effort by government authorities and the wider community.”

A number of regional volunteers from the Central Acclimatisation Society (CAS) and local landholders have helped to co-ordinate the release of the fingerlings into the Macquarie River. The members of CAS are appreciative to be involved in the ‘Species Recovery Plan’ and impressed by the exceptional quality of the fish produced at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre by Hatchery Manager, Matthew McLellan and assistant manager Lachie Jess. ‘The moment the fish were released they quickly dispersed to start their journey and hopefully a new self-sustaining population in the Macquarie River.’

Anglers should familiarise themselves with the appearance of trout cod and the similar looking Murray cod. If you catch a trout cod or other threatened species release it carefully to prevent harming the fish and become involved in the Threatened Species Sighting Program by recording the details such as location, approximate length, type of species and send the info to NSW DPI Threatened Species Unit by email or on line HERE. Penalties can include fines of up to $220,000 and/or imprisonment for harming or possessing them. Please photograph fish in the water and never hold in a vertical position by the jaws or gills. Click HERE to check out the Protecting Trout Cod guide for fishers and land managers.     

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