GREG'S LEGACY

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Getting a handle on Murray Cod catches

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FROM THE MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
DATE: Monday, July 16, 2007

Recreational anglers are providing valuable information to fisheries researchers as part of a Bracks Government project to learn more about Murray cod, one of Victoria’s most important inland recreational fish species, Minister Responsible for Fisheries, Joe Helper, said today.

Mr Helper said researchers from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Snobs Creek centre had interviewed more than 640 anglers since the annual Murray cod season opened on December 1, 2006.

“The survey team has been collecting statistics from Murray cod anglers on what they have caught, where, by what method and how well the catch has been treated, especially those to be released,” Mr Helper said.

“From previous research we know large numbers of small Murray cod are released by anglers and by studying how they handle their cod before release we hope to learn more about how many of the released fish survive.”

The survey team has been working in areas on the Goulburn River, downstream of the Goulburn Weir, the Ovens River, downstream of Myrtleford and the Murray River between Yarrawonga and Torrumbarry wiers in NSW. Although the Murray River is NSW water, it is popular with Victorian freshwater anglers as is the lower Ovens and mid-Goulburn.

DPI senior science officer Paul Brown said anglers asked to recall their fishing between December 2006 and June this year estimated that 901 fishing trips yielded a catch of 2,272 Murray cod.

“A combination of the small size of most Murray cod caught and voluntary catch-and-release meant that approximately only 12 per cent of the catch was retained,” Mr Brown said.

“Anglers using bait made up around 90 per cent of those surveyed with the remainder using lures.”

Member for Seymour, also Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Ben Hardman said the survey work would continue until the end of August when the three-month closed season began and recommence on December 1 this year.

“During the next Murray cod season, from December this year until September 2008, the survey will be repeated in sites elsewhere on the Murray River and other Victorian rivers,” Mr Hardman said.

The project has received $111,500 from the Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Account and contributions from Fisheries Victoria and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

For more information about ‘Your Licence Fees at Work’ visit
http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/fishing/feesatwork or ring the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

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Written by Greg Naylor

17 July 2007 at 7:08 pm

Posted in media release

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