Expansion plans for Victoria’s trout cod populations

Trout cod populations in Victoria have received a helping hand thanks to innovative fisheries management and the Victorian Government’s investment in fish hatchery facilities to boost production for stocking.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) acting Chief Executive Officer Luke O’Sullivan said trout cod are an endangered native species related to Murray cod that were once common across many of Victoria’s northern rivers.

Dedicated funding from the Victorian Government’s $96m Go Fishing and Boating plan is expanding the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s (VFA) Snobs Creek hatchery, near Eildon, so it can more reliably produce larger numbers of trout cod fingerlings every year.

“Establishing new breeding populations of trout cod in north-east rivers will make a real difference to the recovery of this important native species in the wild,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“The Victorian Government’s $15 million investment into expanding the Snobs Creek and Arcadia fish hatcheries will pay big dividends for trout cod and other freshwater fish for decades to come.”

This season, the VFA has stocked trout cod fingerlings into two north-east waterways for the first time to establish self-sustaining populations. The King River near Cheshunt was stocked with 15,000 trout cod fingerlings and the Corryong-Jerimal Creek with 6,000.

Fisheries managers hope the stocked trout cod will breed among themselves in a few years’ time once mature to further hasten the species’ recovery in the wild.

The Goulburn River, which has been stocked with nearly 115,000 trout cod since 2014, received 21,800 fingerlings this season and Seven Creeks, near Euroa, got 2,100.

In the Upper Goulburn River, from Jamieson to Kevington, a different approach will be employed to help trout cod get a foothold in waters they once inhabited.

Mature trout cod will be translocated from lakes Sambell and Kerferd, near Beechworth, to re-establish a population in this stretch of the Upper Goulburn River. It is estimated that about 40 mature trout cod will be moved, 10 of which will be implanted with acoustic tags to monitor their movements upstream and downstream over time.

Signage at key access points along the river will educate freshwater anglers on trout cod’s plight and foster an appreciation for the species in places they once thrived.

The hatchery expansion, translocation and stockings contribute to the National Trout Cod Recovery Plan, the Victorian Government’s flood recovery program and have support from recreational fishing groups and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

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