Native fish species released into Bremer River

About 2,000 Mary River cod have been released into the Bremer River catchment to increase native fish populations and improve the river’s diversity.

Environment and Sustainability Committee chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said releasing the cod was part of Ipswich City Council’s plan to improve Ipswich’s waterways.

“This is another milestone for council’s Waterway Health Strategy,” Cr Milligan said.

“Not only are we contributing to the recovery of the Mary River cod, but we are also adding greater diversity to the fish communities of the Bremer River.

“This is one of many ways council and the community are working towards improving the health of our river systems.

“Other initiatives include removing weeds from riverbanks, restoring native vegetation and managing urban run-off.”

The Mary River cod is a large endemic species growing over a metre in length and as one of Australia’s most endangered fish, they are only found in a few waterways in south east Queensland.

They are a protected species with stocking efforts over the last 10 years focussed on increasing their distribution to new waterways to establish new conservation populations.

Cr Milligan said the Bremer was historically filled with Brisbane River cod, which were driven to extinction by the early settlers of the greater Brisbane region in the early 1900s.

“This formal stocking represents the first time that large numbers of freshwater cod will have occupied the Bremer since they were lost 100 years ago,” Cr Milligan said.

“Hatchery staff, local fish stocking group Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries staff and council staff assisted in the release across six strategic locations with good habitat in the form of log-jams and deep pools, good riparian condition and suitable food availability.

“Recent rainfall throughout the catchment also provides ideal conditions for releasing these fish as it provides cool fresh water to the system, provides good connectivity for dispersal with an abundance of food.

“Our hope in the years ahead is to have an established, self-sufficient population of cod in the Bremer catchment with annual stockings to continue.

“Being such a large-bodied fish, these adult cod will contribute to the management of pest fish in the system such as tilapia and carp.”

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