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Cudgewa fish survey yields signs of bushfire recovery

North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has partnered with Victoria’s Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) to investigate the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on Upper Murray waterways and the fish that live in them.

Researchers undertook electro fishing in the Cudgewa Creek last week to allow fish to be counted and tagged to support studies of the impact on fish migration and breeding areas following the Upper Murray fires.

The work is part of the North East CMA’s Bushfire Recovery Program, funded by the Victorian Government’s Capital Stimulus Project: Restoring Waterways initiative.

North East CMA Senior Project Officer, Andrew Briggs, said the ARI survey team had a huge first day at Cudgewa Creek, recording three Murray cod first up at one site, each up to 48cm in length. They found another cod measuring 65cm and then two more later in the day that weighed 27kg and 34kg respectively.

“The key message for Cudgewa Creek is that while the news regarding recovery is better than expected, it is still very much a system in recovery and it is not yet one to target for recreational fishing,” Mr Briggs said.

“We need all the fish we can get at present, but with fish like these the recovery is well underway if we continue to handle it carefully.”

The cod were found in the lower reaches of Cudgewa Creek, below an informal weir that is currently a barrier to fish movement further upstream. North East CMA is progressing work to ensure there is fish passage throughout the whole of Cudgewa Creek.

The survey of Upper Murray waterways continued throughout the week. The region is also hosting trout recovery stockings in local waterways, in partnership with the Australian Trout Foundation and Corryong Angling Club.

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