Dave Towner encountered this cod while fishing for bass. It was released.
Dave Towner encountered this cod while fishing for bass. It was released.

Endangered species get a big boost at Borumba

THE endangered Mary River cod is getting a boost with 1000 of the fish to be released into Borumba Dam this week.

The release of the fish, whose numbers in the past are believed to have dropped to as low as 600 in the wild, is part of a wider program to reinvigorate the dam's ecosystem.

However, the cod's nature as an apex predator makes their preservation a challenge.

It was only able to make up 1 per cent of the 100,000 fish which are being released into the dam this financial year.


MARY RIVER CATCHMENT COORDINATION COMMITTEE. The Mary River cod is a top order predator.
'COD' BE ON THE WAY BACK: 1000 of the endangered Mary River cod are being released into Borumba Dam this week. Contributed

"It's hard to bring them back from extinction at that rate," Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association treasurer Bruce Horsfall said.

The other 99,000 fish are made up of 60,000 golden perch, 30,000 Australian bass and 9000 silver perch.

Once the fish are in the dam and waterways a no-take limit is in place to make sure they stay there.

A Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said those caught in Queensland with even one Mary River cod could expect to be out of pocket on-the-spot of more than $260.

A court appearance could be on the cards for more severe breaches of the law.


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The Mary River cod.

"You can catch them accidentally and take a photo but you've got to toss them back," MrHorsfall said.

He said the source of their cod was the Hinternoosa Hatchery, owned by Darren Knowles, who was their "exclusive cod-person".

But although the fish are placed into the dam, MrHorsfall said it was not where they were often found.

"People catch them in the creeks below the dam," he said.

In 1993 it was estimated the cod was only found in about 30 per cent of its former range in the Mary River system.


Mary River Cod.
Another fine example of the Mary River cod.

It is believed the population sank as low as 600 in the wild.

A recovery plan had been put in place which aimed to have its status downgraded from endangered to vulnerable by 2010.

The fish was also a big reason why former Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett axed the Traveston Dam proposal.

The cod are being released into Borumba dam on Friday at 2pm.