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Regional Showcase

Murray cod enjoy new homes in Mount Lofty Ranges

Regional Showcase

Australia’s fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited has partnered with SA Water to introduce native fish homes into the Warren Reservoir.

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OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of rivers, lakes and estuaries through habitat restoration and educational programs.

Delivered in February 2021 for the first time in South Australia, these homes will provide shelter and potential breeding grounds for the Murray cod.

The “Cod Lodges” are terracotta pots and limestone reef blocks that were installed in the SA Water-managed Warren Reservoir near Williamstown to provide refuge for Murray cod.

The limestone blocks were provided by local businesses Bennetts Pottery Magill and Chamo’s Lures and were cleaned by local OzFish Barossa Chapter members and volunteers.

OzFish Senior Program Manager for South Australia, Dr Michael Sierp, said they have not done anything like this before in South Australia Reservoirs.

“Murray cod are highly territorial and aggressive fish. They are going to love these pots and blocks. They’ll use them to rest in during the day and anything that’s interesting that swims past they will ambush as their natural feeding behaviour,” he said.

Habitat destruction over decades has caused cod numbers in the wild to decline significantly.

“Murray cod are valuable because they’re an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, but they are also a prized fish to catch among recreational fishers, providing more habitat like this will help them thrive in the area,” Dr Sierp said.

This project represents a number of promising fish habitat rehabilitation projects which are in place to reverse a history of native fish loss.

OzFish Barossa Chapter President Tegan Lorensini said South Australia is lucky to have the Murray cod.

“We are so lucky to have one of the biggest freshwater fish in the world at our doorstep,” Lorensini said.

“It’s our job to protect our Murray cod fishery and ensure future generations can experience catching and caring for these awesome fish.”

This is story is part of Solstice Media’s Regional Showcase series and awards program. Each week we will bring our readers regional news stories that matter as well as some inspirational tales of individuals and communities doing what country people do best – having a go.

If you have a tale to tell or know of one, get in touch at South Australian Regional Showcase.

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