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More cod and perch in the Goulburn River

Researchers have discovered increases in fish populations in the Goulburn River.

January 11, 2013 4:04am

The lower Goulburn River now has more Murray cod and golden perch fish than 20 years ago.

A recently released report also found a decline in the numbers of introduced redfin perch compared to 20 years ago.

The report, Status of Fish Populations in the Lower Goulburn River (2003-2012), was prepared by the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environment Research for the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and documents the findings of a nine-year study of fish populations in the Goulburn River from the Goulburn Weir near Nagambie to the Murray.

Some of the key findings of the study included:

Significant populations of native fish occur in the lower Goulburn River, including several species of conservation significance, namely trout cod, Murray cod, silver perch and freshwater catfish.

There is evidence of increased numbers of Murray cod and golden perch and declines in introduced redfin perch in recent years compared to the 1980s.

Despite being previously abundant, Macquarie perch now appears to be locally extinct in the main channel of the lower Goulburn River.

A number of key species are breeding in the Goulburn River, including freshwater catfish, trout cod and silver perch.

Golden perch spawning appears to be associated with increases in discharge, particularly large flows/floods. Murray cod spawning occurred annually in the lower Goulburn River regardless of river discharge.

Key threats to native fish include drought, floods, black water, loss of habitat via removal of woody debris, reductions in water quality and the spread of introduced pest fish species.

Carp populations remained relatively stable during the drought (1997 to 2009), however, following widespread flooding in 2010, carp from other waterways were washed into the Goulburn resulting in a considerable expansion in the size of the population.

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