Endangered fish native to Seven Creeks

By Geoff Adams

The only known remaining self-sustaining population of trout cod in Victoria is confined to the Seven Creeks system near Euroa.

Distribution has been extended in recent years as suitable waters are identified, with fish produced at Snobs Creek Hatchery for stocking these waters in a program aimed at establishing new viable populations.

As a result there are now viable populations in several waterways, including the Goulburn River and the Ovens River.

According to the Victorian Fisheries Authority, trout cod are closely related to Murray cod. Although first described in 1829, it was not until 1972 that it was recognised scientifically as a distinct species from Murray cod.

Their status is classified as either threatened or endangered.

Apart from environmental changes such as those caused by dams, silting and ‘river improvement’ activities, it is likely — because of similarities in habitat requirements, certain aspects of observed behaviour (such as establishment of territories) and feeding habits — that introduced trout may have been a factor in the decline in range and abundance of trout cod.

The Macqarie perch, classified as endangered, also has a protected habitat in the upper reaches of Seven Creeks.

According to the Victorian Fisheries Authority, the range and abundance have been greatly reduced during the past 50 years and, with the exception of the population in Lake Dartmouth, and smaller populations in several other localities, most occurrences of the species are limited to small numbers of fish.