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Native fish seek refuge during dry conditions

Wednesday 13 February, 2019
Recent monitoring in the Seven and Hughes creeks shows native fish including threatened trout cod and Macquarie perch have moved to sections of the creek with deeper pools.

Goulburn Broken CMA’s Simon Casanelia said while this was good news back-up options were being explored in case the creeks dried up due to an ongoing lack of rain and hot weather.

“Recent monitoring by Arthur Rylah Institute staff at sites along both creeks showed that while parts of the creeks had dried out, the native fish were in good condition in sections with connected pools such as above Galls Gap Road on Seven Creeks and upstream of the Hume Highway on the Hughes Creek. While water temperature was on the high side the oxygen levels in these sections were fine and there is plenty of habitat and food. It’s great to see that all the work done by the community to improve habitat on these creeks is paying off.”

Mr Casanelia said options being considered if conditions remained dry and hot and fish became stressed included relocating native fish into more secure upstream sites; moving trout cod from the Seven Creeks to Snobs Creek; and moving Macquarie perch from the Seven and Hughes creeks to waterways with more secure flows, such as the Yea River.

“We’re also keeping an eye on the King Parrot and Hollands creeks and the upper Broken River, which also have populations of threatened native fish, but so far so good,” Mr Casanelia said. “Rainfall and run-off are the only ways to improve flows in these creeks, and while we’ve had some relief from the heat recently, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting below average rainfall and hotter conditions for the rest of summer.”

While Macquarie perch and trout cod are protected species, anglers can help reduce stress on native fish by minimising handling, particularly during extremely hot, dry weather.

A small number of dead carp, redfin and one yellow belly were found in the Seven Creeks near Euroa recently, however, there have been no reports of major native fish deaths in the Goulburn Broken Catchment to date.

Fish deaths should be reported to the EPA Hotline on 1300 372 842.

Goulburn Broken CMA is continuing to work with urban and rural water authorities the EPA, fishers and other agencies to monitor water conditions across the catchment.

Grants for recreational fishing groups to carry out revegetation works are available through the Victorian Government’s Angler Riparian Partnership Program, Recreational Fishing Licence Trust and other funding programs as they become available. Contact Goulburn Broken CMA for more information.

Information on river and stream flows can be accessed via the Bureau of Meteorology’s website www.bom.gov.au