VRFish challenges old thinking on stocking Murray Cod into Rocklands Reservoir

VRFish, the peak body representing the interests of Victoria’s 838,000 recreational fishers is challenging the previous thinking that has opposed the stocking of Victoria’s most iconic freshwater native fish, the Murray cod into Rocklands Reservoir.

Rocklands Reservoir in a highly valuable water storage with a purpose built concrete retaining wall built in the 1950s to ensure water customers of the Wimmera Mallee region of Victoria had access to secure water supplies. The Reservoir is a popular site for fishing and boating activities.

VRFish Chairman, Rob Loats said “This initiative would help offset the possible loss of fishing opportunities at Lake Toolondo should we not receive the required rainfall this year.”

Translocation guidelines and a risk assessment would apply to the stocking and it is important this process is based on common sense and on real world experience. We already have native fish populations established in rivers and lakes outside their natural range.

There is an important population of Murray cod in the upper reaches of the Yarra River and golden perch in Albert Park Lake. The Wimmera River also has a thriving population of native freshwater catfish.

VRFish General Manager, Dallas D’Silva added “Creating a Murray cod fishery in Rocklands would have many social and economic benefits to the region that has been impacted by dry weather conditions. Any potential ecological impacts can be more than adequately offset by managers.”

Stocking Rocklands Reservoir with cod would also act and as additional source of genetic diversity that may assist future broodstock studies and stocking elsewhere in the Wimmera region.

Rob Loats added, “We live in a highly modified environment and it is hard to argue against restoring native fish populations, when their range has been confined by a number of man made non-fishing activities over 200 years”.

“Many of the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and food we eat are imported or translocated. Why shouldn’t we look at growing our native fish populations in the same way?”

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