Small fry take a big dip

THE Queanbeyan River received a fishy boost on Tuesday as 12,500 Murray Cod fingerlings were released into the waterway.

The release is part of Queanbeyan Council’s bi-annual restocking program and was joint-funded with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Council environment manager Natasha Abbott said a fish survey conducted in 2012 had found native fish specimens in Queanbeyan that- when aged and weighed- matched up with data of previous fish releases.

“We’ve got a biannual program of restocking and it’s usually in line with the ACT, so whatever we do here in Queanbeyan is matched upstream at Googong and downstream in Canberra,” Ms Abbott said.

“You don’t know how many are going to survive to maturity, so that’s why we’ve released such a large number of fish.”

River Smart CEO Bill Phillips was also on hand to witness the release, and said fish restocking was a key part of replenishing native fish in local waterways.

“The native fish population is around 10 per cent of what it was when European settlers arrived, and restocking is one of the things we do to help the native fish recover, as well as improving habitat,” he said.

It’s unknown how many of the 12,500 Murray Cod will survive the gauntlet of predators awaiting them in the River, however Mr Phillips said regular restocking would produce results over the long term.

“It’s not hit and miss. We know with regular restocking in a healthy river like this one is, you will see gradual improvement in the numbers of native fish. So it’s a really positive step

“You try and ensure that you place them in a location where there’s a lot of places to hide, reeds and snags and that kind of thing. That gives them the best chance to survive,” he said.

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