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Seminar Focuses On The Endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod

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The endangered eastern freshwater cod is the topic for the next NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) public seminar on Wednesday 29 March at 7 pm.

The seminar will be held at NSW DPI’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre, John Lake Centre, Buckingbong Road, Narrandera.

Guest speaker NSW DPI researcher from Grafton Aquaculture Centre Gavin Butler will give a detailed overview of research into the eastern freshwater cod, a close relative of the Murray cod.

“The eastern freshwater cod (Maccullochella ikei), is one of the most threatened of Australia’s larger endemic freshwater fish species.

“Once abundant in the Clarence and Richmond River systems of south-eastern Australia, numbers have declined during the past 100 years due to a number of anthropogenic and natural causes,” Mr Butler said.

Wild eastern freshwater cod now occur in only one isolated sub-catchment of the Clarence River.

Mr Butler said despite the vulnerable status of eastern freshwater cod a number of processes continued to threaten the species including a lack of biological information.

He said to alleviate some of these knowledge gaps a research project was undertaken between 2003 and 2006 involving NSW DPI, Freshwater Recreational Fishing Trust, Rous Water and Southern Cross University.

The initial objectives were to study the movement patterns of eastern freshwater cod at larval, juvenile, adult and historical levels. However, across three years the project expanded to include the diet, reproductive biology and age and growth of the species as well as the movement patterns.

The presentation will include a brief history and ongoing threats to the eastern freshwater cod, a summary of the results of the current study and a more in depth overview of the radio tagging and reproductive behaviour sections of the research.

“We will take a look at movement patterns and habitat preference determined during the 12 months of radio tracking as well as a brief video and the results of the reproductive data collected,” Mr Butler said.

The presentation will conclude with a brief outline of the possible implications for future management of eastern freshwater cod.

The John Lake Centre also includes an aquarium and poster display, which will be open for inspection before and after the seminar for anyone wishing to undertake a casual tour of the facilities.

Light refreshments and a BBQ meal will be available after the seminar at a cost of $3 a person. NSW DPI staff will also be available if you wish to discuss any topics in greater detail.

Due to limited seating arrangements, the maximum attendance at these seminars is 55 people, so if you are interested in attending, it is essential that you book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Bookings can be made by calling the Narrandera Fisheries Centre on (02) 6959 9021 between 9 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.

If you intend to stay for the $3 BBQ meal please inform a staff member at the time of booking.

The talk will take approximately one hour and evening will conclude at about 9 pm.

If you have booked but cannot make the evening, for catering purposes it would be appreciated if you could please phone the Centre in advance to cancel your booking.

MEDIA CONTACT: SARAH CHESTER ON (02) 6036 2110 OR 0417 207 669.

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