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Yagoona NSW 2199
Phone: 02 9793 8199
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Plight of our Murray Cod

Posted on 5th Feb 2019 @ 1:18 PM

I just wanted to reiterate and draw your attention to the plight of Australia's biggest freshwater fish, the Murray Cod. They have been dropping like flies in the lakes around Menindee, part of the Darling River system. One of Australia's most iconic freshwater fish that can live in excess of 50 years, growing to over 180cm and 113.5kg has already seen a massive decline in wild populations all over Australia due to environmental degradation, poor water quality, reduced river flow due to human interference such as drawing water for irrigation for farming and damming rivers, fishing pressure as well as dealing with introduced pest species such as carp, that although provide a nice snack for a Murray Cod, further reduce water quality in river systems by sifting through the mud as they feed.

This ecological disaster was brought to our attention months ago when we saw a huge number of fish kills (https://www.theguardian.com/…/hundreds-of-thousands-of-nati… )In those images we saw large numbers of massive 30-40 year old plus Murray Cod strewn dead along the shores of the stagnant oxygen starved waters. Although worsened by the recent record high temperatures and combined with low rainfall and drought we have experienced, it is such a shame that this regions water flow has been decimated and allowed to remain in such a poor state.

One month on, we now have a second major fish kill (https://www.theguardian.com/…/menindee-fish-kill-nsw-water-… ) and what is totally disheartening for me is the lack of any bodies of large fish. In the video footage and photos, I have seen there is only small sized dead fish composed predominantly of bony bream (still thousands and thousands of them but no more Murray Cod....). This means that most likely this area has been totally wiped out of the large breeding populations of Murray Cod. The upsetting thing is that in all the footage the introduced pest species of carp are still surviving by gasping oxygen from the surface and are probably the only fish species that will survive these horrible water conditions.

I am happy that the government has committed to putting $5 million towards this disaster, allocated to the clean-up of the dead fish and future restocking but I believe this is just a token gesture and that some drastic action needs to happen and that the management of this regions water resources needs to be fundamentally reviewed. Some strategies need to be put in place to prevent these devastations in the future rather than just a quick Band-Aid fix after the problem has already occurred. The Murray-Darling river system is Australia's most well-known and iconic rivers and management plans must have strategies in place to deal with drought as that is part and parcel of life here in Australia. To simply say we don’t have a strategy in place for drought is a fundamental flaw. In our lifetime we will never see the native fish stocks of this area return to what it once was. If we were talking about thousands of koalas dying on mass, I am sure some action would have happened months back and the people in charge of looking after the koala’s ecosystem would have a lot to answer for. Don't get me started on the plight of our koalas that's a separate rant for another day and not fish related!

In a tiny attempt to raise awareness of this disaster I have put Murray Cod on special in support of our biggest fresh water fish. Who knows... maybe soon the only place you may encounter one is in your own aquarium. Please check out the footage of our new pet Murray Cod who one of our staff saved from a dismal death in a restaurants tank. As you can see its fins have still not fully recovered from almost being bashed to death by other Murray Cod in a tiny polluted tank. They make amazing pets that can be hand fed but please keep in mind they grow massive!!!

On another note I am not sure why there has been no research into using our famous Murray Cod as a candidate for the biological control for carp. They would have to be one of the few native fish species that can swallow carp whole and are hardy enough to endure many areas where carp are the only species present. They are successfully captive bred in huge numbers and a highly prized angling species and desired table fish. There may possibly be enough merit to make Murray Cod our hero fish that can potentially rescue our struggling waterways and I believe a much better alternative to releasing the carp virus (which has been put on the back burner for one reason or another https://www.abc.net.au/…/carp-herpes-virus-plans-p…/10370836 ). A very fortunate outcome in my mind as we do not have the resources to remove the vast amount of dead carp from the waterways, meaning that their rotting carcasses would potentially destroy entire aquatic ecosystems that are already under huge stresses as we have seen above.

Check out the video! The small koi is no match for the Murray Cod. https://www.facebook.com/JMWaquaticsolutions/posts/2030713380297048

We have the Murray Cod in these sizes available: S-3.5, M-5 and G-40!

 

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