Dry times push fish to move

By Country News

Monitoring of Seven and Hughes creeks shows native fish moving to deeper pools following dry conditions.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority said this included threatened trout cod and Macquarie perch.

Goulburn Broken CMA’s strategic river health manager Simon Casanelia said while it was good news, back-up options were being explored in case the creeks dried up.

He said recent monitoring along both creeks showed while parts of the creeks had dried out, the native fish were in good condition in sections with connected pools, such as above Galls Gap Rd on Seven Creeks and upstream of Hume Hwy on Hughes Creek.

‘‘While water temperature was on the high side, the oxygen levels in these sections were fine and there is plenty of habitat and food,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s great to see that all the work done by the community to improve habitat on these creeks is paying off.’’

Mr Casanelia said options being considered, if conditions remained dry and hot and fish became stressed, included relocating native fish into more secure upstream sites.

Other measures could include moving trout cod from Seven Creeks to Snobs Creek and moving Macquarie perch from Seven and Hughes creeks to waterways with more secure flows, such as Yea River.

‘‘We’re also keeping an eye on the King Parrot and Hollands creeks and the Upper Broken River, which also have populations of threatened native fish — but so far, so good,’’ Mr Casanelia said.

Rainfall and run-off were the only ways to improve flows in those creeks, he said.

‘‘And while we’ve had some relief from the heat recently, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting below average rainfall and hotter conditions for the rest of summer,’’ Mr Casanelia said.

While a small number of dead carp, redfin and one yellowbelly were found in Seven Creeks near Euroa recently, no reports of major native fish deaths in the Goulburn Broken Catchment have been received.

The authority said anglers could help reduce stress on all native fish by minimising handling, particularly during hot, dry weather.

■Fish deaths should be reported to the Environment Protection Authority hotline on 1300372842.