Endangered freshwater fish to be released into Munna Creek

Long term waterwatch volunteer, Scott Woolbank, releases cod fingerlings in a pristine stretch of creek in the upper Mary.
Long term waterwatch volunteer, Scott Woolbank, releases cod fingerlings in a pristine stretch of creek in the upper Mary. Contributed

MARY River Cod Fingerlings will be released into Munna Creek on Friday where they once populated.  

Assisted by Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders, volunteers from Munna Creek Waterwatch network will release the fingerlings.  

Raised at the Gerry Cook Fish Hatchery at Lake Macdonald, Cooroy, the little cod are destined to repopulate the Munna Creek system, where the species was once abundant. 

The Mary River cod is one of Australia's most endangered freshwater fish. 

The endangered classification signifies that the cod are in danger of becoming extinct in the wild if threats to their existence continue. 

Loss of suitable in-stream habitat, increasing water temperatures, poor water quality, illegal netting and set-lining are some of the factors which have contributed to the cod's decline. 

Munna Creek is the largest subcatchment of the Mary River, forming the north-western boundary of the watershed.

Shauna and Chris Thompson getting ready to release cod fingerlings in the Upper Mary
Shauna and Chris Thompson getting ready to release cod fingerlings in the Upper Mary Contributed

 The predominant land-use is beef-grazing and native forest management.  For the past decade and more, the MRCCC has assisted graziers in the Munna Creek sub-catchment to adopt best land management grazing practices including the rehabilitation of riparian habitat. 

Removing woody weeds and cat's claw vine, revegetating with local native species, managing stock access to the creek through riparian fencing and providing off stream watering points help to improve water quality and aquatic biodiversity for the cod and other threatened aquatic species including the lungfish and Mary River turtle. 

Bio-control agents which target the dreaded cat's claw vine will also be released along Munna Creek on Friday with volunteers from the Greater Mary Association. 

Early signs that the Tingid bug and the Jewel beetle are having an impact on cat's claw vine and are spreading throughout infestations are positive.

In the Mary River Catchment, the Mary River cod is listed as a no-take species under the Fisheries Act. 

Possession of a Mary River cod caught in its natural distribution is illegal and can carry an on-the-spot fine of $440 or a maximum penalty of $110,000. 

If a Mary River cod is caught unintentionally while targeting other species, care should be taken to ensure the fish is immediately returned unharmed to the water from which it came.

Topics:  bruce saunders cod fingerlings mary river

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