8 Feb 2019
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has successfully relocated 20 stressed Murray Cod from the pool immediately downstream of Weir 32 near the Menindee township to the DPI Narrandera Fisheries Centre.
The Murray Cod, which all measure between 80-100cm and weigh an average of 15-20kg, were removed from the pool near Menindee on the morning on 7 February using a variety of nets.
They 580km trip took six hours on the road, and the transport team stopped regularly to check on the condition of the fish in the aerated and temperature-monitored DPI Fisheries fish transport truck.
The 20 Murray Cod have been placed in quarantine and are expected to eventually be moved into the Narrandera Fisheries Centre’s broodstock ponds, where they will join the Centre’s breeding program.
As part of this, the 20 Murray Cod will be tagged and monitored regularly so their health can be closely tracked.
It is expected that the 20 Murray Cod will have a productive potential of more than 100,000 fingerlings per year. These fingerlings will then be available for future restocking efforts in the Lower Darling, and will ensure the ongoing genetic and cultural connectivity of these fish with the existing populations in the river.
DPI Fisheries is currently assessing the potential for further relocation efforts from below Weir 32 as flows through the fishway are planned to cease early next week.
WaterNSW will cease flows from Weir 32 early next week to maintain supplies for high-security water users and stock and domestic use around Lake Wetherill and the weir pool.
Generally, relocating fish is not a preferred solution because of the additional stress it places on the fish.
DPI remains on alert for fish deaths in the Lower Darling and a number of other high risk sites across the State, and is continuing to monitor these locations.