Big fish in new pond

By Country News

More than 200 Murray cod will be relocated to new waterways as part of a joint initiative between Goulburn-Murray Water and the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

On Friday, 15 fish were moved from unsuitable living conditions in irrigation channels near Cobram to a more natural habitat in the Goulburn River at Shepparton.

Australian Fishing Traders Association board member Steven Threlfall said it was a great opportunity for the fish because they wouldn’t have survived in the irrigation system.

‘‘Points in the irrigation systems are being lowered for maintenance and to get rid of weed, so a lot of the fish would have perished if we didn’t move them,’’ Mr Threlfall said.

It is the second year the initiative has run in the region and is part of the Victorian Government’s Target One Million phase two commitments, which is aimed at boosting recreational fishing and grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

Victorian Fisheries Authority manager Steven Douglas said fishing had a lot of health benefits and the Target One Million initiative was a great way to get people started with fishing.

‘‘Some people don’t know how to get into fishing, so if we can put more fish into the waters and encourage people to go and catch fish, then people can have a great time and take their families down too and have a good chance at catching one,’’ he said.

As well as the fish released into the river at Daintons Bridge on Friday, Murray cod will also be relocated to Shepparton’s Victoria Park Lake.

Some of the cod relocated are more than 1m in size, and are expected to breed once they are settled into their new environment.

‘‘The irrigation channels don’t have much habitat but they will love being among the snags and deep water in the lake and rivers’’ Mr Douglas said.