Native fish relocated to Loddon River

Wednesday 14 July, 2021
Fish saved from Fernihurst irrigation channel
VFA representative Rhys Neville preparing a cod for release.

A joint effort between Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW), Victorian Fisheries Authority and local stakeholders has seen about 50 native fish saved from an irrigation channel undergoing routine winter maintenance.

Earlier this month, GMW was alerted to a congregation of fish in Fernihurst, at the Western Waranga Channel, where dewatering is taking place.

“The fish were at risk with reduced water, so we co-ordinated an effort in conjunction with Fisheries and relocated about 20 Murray Cod, ranging from 30-80cm, and 30 Golden Perch, between 20-50cm to the Loddon River,” GMW Distribution Customer Service Manager – West Paul Gilchrist said.

Mr Gilchrist said GMW and VFA had worked with the Boort Angling Club and local landholders and CFA to salvage the fish.

“It’s an opportunity for local community stakeholders, such as the local farmers and the Angling Club, to see GMW does its best to complete core business activities in channel maintenance, but also care for the environment with the support and assistance of locals,” he said.

“It’s important these stakeholders understand we want to work with the environment wherever possible, and be a positive partner to the community, ensuring our water delivery work, including maintenance programs on our irrigation channels, provide positive outcomes for all.

“Wherever possible, GMW works with the environment so industry and community are not compromised.

“It is sometimes a difficult balancing act as we need to maintain irrigation channels, but working with stakeholders such as the VFA and the EPA, GMW endeavours to achieve positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said it was a great outcome.

“Getting more cod and yellas into our rivers is fantastic for Victorian recreational fishers everywhere,” he said. “Hats off to Boort Angling Club and all the volunteers who turned up to get the job done.”