12 Feb 2019
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is taking steps to relocate stressed Murray Cod and Golden Perch from the pool immediately downstream of Weir 32 near the Menindee township and in two shallow isolated pools further downstream.
This follows the successful relocation of 20 Murray Cod from the area last week, which were captured and transferred to the Narrandera Fisheries Centre. These fish are in good health and adjusting to new surroundings.
DPI Fisheries is aware of the requirement for WaterNSW to cease flows from Weir 32 via the fishway. As a result, DPI’s fisheries technicians have travelled to the site to manage potential adverse impacts on fish when flows are stopped.
If the fish are able to be safely removed today they will be released in the following areas:
- Murray Cod and Golden Perch will be released in the Lower Darling upstream of Wentworth; and
- Silver Perch, a threatened species, will be taken to DPI’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre as broodstock, with fingerlings to be returned to the Lower Darling as part of native fish recovery efforts when conditions improve.
This is DPI’s last planned rescue possible from the Lower Darling River, however the Department will continue to monitor conditions and respond accordingly.
It is expected that a variety of methods will be used to rescue the fish, while minimising further stress on Murray Cod and other native fish species.
The rescued fish will travel by road in the DPI Fisheries fish stocking truck, which is aerated and temperature monitored.
Relocating fish is generally not the preferred response because of the additional pressure it places on already stressed fish, however the unique circumstances during these dry and hot conditions have necessitated the use of a variety of management responses.
DPI is continuing to monitor water quality and is finalising an assessment of temporary aerators placed within the Darling River. Aerators can provide localised water quality benefits and refuge for fish.