Cod be praised! Reintroduction saves the Trout Cod
11 July, 2012
New research has found that a re-stocking program has successfully re-established the Trout Cod (Maccullochella macquariensis) in the Ovens River, turning around its localised extinction and giving hope for the future of the species.
A research paper on 10 years of re-stocking, written by the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI), has just been published in the CSIRO journal "Marine and Freshwater Research" and is available at http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/MF12034.htm
ARI Fish Ecologist Jarod Lyon said: “This research shows that, thanks to the re-stocking program, the Trout Cod has come back from the verge of extinction in the late 1980's to now having a naturally reproducing, self sustaining population in the Ovens River as well as at other sites within its former range.”
“The success of this re-introduction into the Ovens River is extraordinary, considering that the main factors that had contributed to the Trout Cod’s decline were still present in the river while the re-stocking was carried out,” Mr Lyon said.
“Trout Cod fingerlings have also had to contend with a drought, sedimentation, man-made barriers to migration and introduced fish like carp and redfin.”
“A significant factor in the recovery of the species has been that while the re-stocking was undertaken, there has also been a concerted effort to reduce the impact of those problems on the fish, and this has been supported by the local community that have become increasingly aware of the importance of a healthy river, and the benefits that it can provide.”
“In the Ovens catchment, large proportion of such work has been delivered by the North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) under the Victorian River Health Strategy.”
“The net result of these management actions has been that the condition of the Ovens River has improved, and hence provided the environmental conditions suited to Trout Cod recovery.
“The research has found that the re-introduction of the Trout Cod in the Ovens River has been a great result for the species within the targeted area, although the species is still in trouble across other parts of its range.”
The Trout Cod is listed as a Threatened species in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Act, and cannot be taken from the water by anglers.
The Victorian Government has a responsibility under the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 to protect threatened species. These animals and plants contribute significantly to the biodiversity of their ecosystems. The knowledge we acquire about these species helps us to then take the on-ground steps needed to ensure their survival.
Tour Cod photo by Jarod Lyon