Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders today helped release 5,000 Murray Cod fingerlings in the Macquarie River at Dubbo, taking the total number of Murray Cod stocked in NSW waterways in 2021-22 to 1.27 million, eclipsing previous records.
Mr Saunders said today’s final stocking event capped off a record-breaking season, smashing the previous state stocking record of 780,000 back in 2006-07.
“Stocking over a million fingerlings into NSW waterways is crucial to strengthening the Murray Cod populations and this record-breaking year is monumental following years of crippling drought,” Mr Saunders said.
The Murray Cod fingerlings were the progeny of fish rescued in a joint operation involving DPI Fisheries and volunteer fishers during the 2019 drought, as part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Native Fish Drought Response.
“I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all of the local recreational fishers and the community for the work they did to assist the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to rescue fish during the previous severe drought conditions,” Mr Saunders said.
“Their efforts were critical in being able to rescue the fish and be able to breed their progeny for release back into the system. The rescued fish have contributed over 500,000 fish that have been released into NSW waterways over the past two years.”
The Murray Cod fingerlings were bred at the NSW DPI Fisheries’ flagship fish hatchery at Narrandera, as part of the State’s largest-ever breeding program.
Since November 2021, Murray Cod fingerlings have been released at over 50 sites across NSW including:
90,000 in the Macquarie River at Dubbo, Narromine, Trangie and Warren;
93,000 at Blowering Dam;
110,000 at Copeton Dam;
125,000 to Wyangala Dam; and
120,000 in the Darling River at Menindee, Louth and Bourke.
Mr Saunders said the NSW DPI Fisheries is committed to breeding two million native fish each year as part of the Native Fish Stocking Program, to keep NSW lakes and rivers well stocked.
“Stocking this impressive number of fish would not have been possible without the help of local communities, fishing clubs and volunteers,” Mr Saunders said.