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Signs of life in the Murray River

Monitoring of the Murray River around the Barmah-Millewa Forest region in the past two spawning seasons has found larval Murray cod and Murray spiny crayfish in areas affected by the 2011 blackwater event.

April 23, 2014 3:04am

Monitoring of the Murray River around the Barmah-Millewa Forest region in the past two spawning seasons has found larval Murray cod and Murray spiny crayfish in areas affected by the 2011 blackwater event.

Monitoring of the fish conducted by DEPI’s Arthur Rylah Institute in 2012 and 2013 found significant numbers of larvae of the threatened Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) and threatened Murray spiny crayfish (Euastacus armatus).

‘‘This is an important sign of recovery from two species that were hit hard by the 2011 blackwater event,’’ Arthur Rylah Institute fish ecologist Zeb Tonkin said.

‘‘The larvae were netted drifting down the Murray River out of Barmah-Millewa Forest.

‘‘Drifting larvae is a known dispersal mechanism for the threatened Murray cod and it is an important strategy for population recovery following such events.

‘‘We know a lot about the larval stage of Murray cod, but little is known about this stage of Murray crays so this is a significant piece of information about this species.’’

The institute is monitoring the spawning of large-bodied fish species and crayfish in the Murray River as part of a long-term condition monitoring program under The Living Murray program.

The Living Murray is a joint initiative funded by the Victorian, NSW, South Australian, ACT and Commonwealth governments, and is co-ordinated by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

DEPI works with a range of agencies to strengthen our environmental efforts and ensure better protection and more productive catchments throughout Victoria.

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