South Australia's Murray Cod fishery reopens on 1 January 2019, giving devoted fishers an opportunity to catch and release the sought-after river species.
Ahead of the season start, fishers targeting the popular species are urged to familiarise themselves with the recommended handling techniques.
Murray Cod are a fragile species, particularly the larger ones, and must be handled with extreme care and respect to ensure they are safely unhooked and released back in to the water.
To give the Murray Cod the best chance of survival, the following handling techniques are recommended once a Murray Cod has been hooked and is ready to be released:
- Support the weight of the fish, lifting only its head from the water
- Avoid handling the fins or gills
- Carefully dislodge the hook using pliers, ensuring that the fish is not lifted out of the water past the gills
- Once the hook is removed, gently release the fish back into the river.
PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Executive Director, Sean Sloan, said that the catch and release arrangements provide ongoing protection to preserve Murray Cod stocks.
"Annual closures plus the catch and release season are in place due to stock concerns, after the Murray Cod came perilously close to extinction and in 2003 was listed as a species in decline," Mr Sloan said.
"The recommended handling guidelines are designed to help fishers catch and release a Murray Cod and safeguard the future of this iconic fish so that in years to come fishers can continue to enjoy the unique experience of landing a mighty Murray Cod."
South Australia's annual catch and release season remains open until 31 July 2019. For more details about Murray Cod fishing: www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/recreational_fishing/murray_cod
Note that each state has different Murray Cod handling laws. If fishing near, or across the border, check with that state's fisheries department for details.