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Going with the flow

Large-bodied native fish such as Murray Cod in the Loddon River are being fitted with acoustic tags as part of a new monitoring program investigating fish responses to environmental flow deliveries across Victoria.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI), in conjunction with the North Central Catchment Management Authority, are conducting the monitoring as part of the Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program (VEFMAP), to see how fish respond to environmental water releases along our rivers.

ARI Principal Research Scientist Jarod Lyon said: "We know our native fish respond to flooding by moving out onto the floodplains along our rivers and feeding. Increases in water level are also a potential trigger for these fish to breed."

"This research project will track the response of Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) and Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua) to environmental flows using acoustic tags implanted in the fish," Mr Lyon said.

"ARI researchers have been out on the Loddon River tagging fish in preparation for environmental flows expected to be released in Autumn.

"The researchers have tags in a number of juvenile Golden Perch that have already made their way into the lower end of the Loddon system.

"The health of our rivers is increasingly reliant on the release of environmental flows and we will track the movements of fish when an environmental flow is released into the Loddon River."

"The findings of this research may inform the timing and level of future environmental water releases to give the greatest possible benefit to our environment and potentially improving fishing opportunities."

External tags are visible on each fish. Anglers who catch one of the fish are asked to record the tag number, report it by calling the number on the tag and, if possible, return the fish to the water.

This project is part of a $222 million investment by the Victorian Government to improve the health of waterways and catchments.

Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) is listed as threatened species in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Act.

Further Information

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Tel: 136 186

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