Monster Murray cod to benefit from carp trapping program at Scottsdale Reserve

on 10 Aug 2014 
Andrew Norris showing how to set up the trap.

The upper Murrumbidgee River is home to three nationally listed threatened fish species… highlighted by the recent discovery of a beautiful 93cm Murray cod at Scottsdale Reserve. This fish will be one of the beneficiaries of Scottsdale Reserve's carp trapping program.

If your response is ‘WOW’ then you’re saying what we’re saying... because, as the picture shows, that is one BIG and beautiful fish! Adding awe to delight, it's also humbling to realise that this fish may be up to 40 years old.

This fish was discovered during electrofishing surveys recently conducted by NSW Fisheries staff working on native fish research and conducting scientific monitoring to support Scottsdale Reserve's carp trapping program.  We're also delighted because this cod is one of four native fish (all threatened species), found this year, which is the first time that we've recorded fish other than carp in the river at Scottsdale Reserve since fish monitoring began some years ago.

This is a great sign for Scottsdale Reserve's carp trapping program, which aims to reduce carp numbers in the upper Murrumbidgee River in order to benefit native fish. The program is testing the theory that high carp numbers competing with native fish may be a factor preventing recovery of native fish populations. By giving native fish the chance to recover, the program hopes to shift the ecosystem balance in favour of these species.  

The trapping trial itself is unique in that it will be the first time such a trial has been undertaken in an Australian upland stream, which in itself poses some interesting problems to solve. Scottsdale Reserve is pleased to have the expert input of Andrew Norris (Queensland Dpt of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry) who has provided the latest version of their highly efficient carp trap and feeder system for use in the trial.  Earlier prototypes of these traps have been highly efficient in terms of catch and, importantly, proven safe for native fish, turtles and platypus!

In July this year, Andrew Norris drove all the way down from Queensland to deliver his trap, demonstrate how to set it up and do a site assessment of the river at Scottsdale Reserve for placement of the trap. The use of the trap at Scottsdale Reserve in spring will complete the field trials for Andrew Norris' improved trap design and demonstrate its application for wider use across Australia in similar river systems.   

Andrew Norris showing how to set up the trap.