Standing up for Native Fish in Reedy Lake

A potential fish kill was avoided and an extinct native fish was re-discovered after VRFish publicly raised its serious concerns about a planned draining of Reedy Lake 3 near Kerang.

This small lake was launched into the spotlight after VRFish learnt a draining process as part of the water saving Connections Project would be commenced at the end of October, despite anglers knowing that the lake holds good numbers of native fish, including our iconic Murray cod.

A fatal flaw we believed was poor methodology to measure the native fish populations. What the project found in their surveys simply did not match what our local anglers catch from the lake. The timing of the planned drawdown could not have been worse either with hot summer temperatures only weeks away and Murray cod still in breeding season at the time.

Also, fish relocation and fish salvage plans were non-existent. If the lake was to be drained, some species especially Murray cod would not go with the flow and instead hole up. We have seen this in other lake drawdowns such as Lake Mokoan which left hundreds if not thousands of fish high and dry.

Despite raising these concerns formally we felt strongly they had fallen upon deaf ears. A post published outlining on our Facebook page quickly reached over 100,000 people. Additional fish monitoring was undertaken the week and discovered two southern purple-spotted gudgeon, a small-bodied native fish that has been assessed as regionally extinct in Victoria.

Southern purple-spotted gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa)
Photo: NSW DPI/Guntha Schmida

This is indeed a remarkable find and we are advocating that our foundation members Native Fish Australia, should take a lead role in a captive breeding program if more individuals are found.

Since the discovery of southern purple-spotted gudgeon the lake drain down process has been ‘temporarily’ halted. VRFish have been invited by the State Government to help develop an environmental strategy to manage the lake into the future.

This is another example of VRFish providing quality advice and standing up for our anglers and our fish. Learn more about the southern purple-spotted gudgeon from the Native Fish Australia webpage.

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