DSE’s threatened Species recovery projects February 2006Trout Cod
Ron Lewis, and other members of Native Fish Australia (NFA) started experimenting with breeding theendangered Trout Cod
in specially designed aquaria in their backyards in theearly 1980s “Back then there was no research on Australian native fish at all and NFA was formed to conduct and promoteresearch into native fish,” said Mr Lewis.Mr Lewis said the NFA began its project to save fish with a trial program to breed and reintroduce goldenperch and silver perch, and then moved on to the endangered Trout Cod. “The Trout Cod was not recognised as a separate species until the 1970s, so there hadn’t been a lot of research done up until then and it remains one of Australia’s most endangered fish.” “Now Trout Cod are being bred in hatcheries and we hope the numbers will pick up in the next few years.We’ve provided over forty thousand larval Trout Cod from the NFA hatchery at Latrobe University togovernment-run operations to improve the genetic variability of Trout Cod released to the wild.” John Koehn, from DSE’s Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, says thanks to groups like NativeFish Australia working with the department, the Trout Cod is on the road to recovery. “One of the aims of the national recovery program is to establish additional populations to reduce the risk of extinction,” said Mr Koehn. “To that end, DSE funds a stocking program toreintroduce hatchery produced fish into theOvens and other rivers. “Trout cod are voracious feeders and are oftencaught by anglers, who of course, must returnthem to the water unharmed. “It is hoped that successful re-establishmentof populations of this endangered speciescould again provide angling opportunities inthe future.” After so many years of hard work, Ron Lewisis now optimistic about the future of theTrout Cod, “The fish is doing quite well inthe area below Lake Mulwala, which is thelast viable natural population.”
A Trout Cod being measured by researchers beforebeing returned to the water.
Pictures: John Koehn, ARI