The state’s peak body for recreational fishing – RecFish SA – along with councils along the River Murray, have united to call on the South Australian Government to fund a long-term Murray cod stocking program.
Mid Murray council are among the councils which provided unanimous written support to RecFish SA to lead the long-term community partnership project – which aims to stock up to 500,000 Murray cod into the River Murray each year.
Mid Murray Mayor Dave Burgess said the project would be a boost for tourism, recreation and the river environment.
“Our council has the longest stretch of Murray River running through our district (when compared to other councils). This 220-kilometre stretch of riverfront, makes us the home of fishing along SA’s might Murray,” Mr Burgess said.
The call for the government to support the project came on the back of the outstanding success achieved by RecFish SA and the councils over the past three years in partnering to stock 288,000 Murray cod into the River Murray.
In 2017 the project had been left in limbo after the state government closed down the $2.3m Recreational Fishing Grants Program, which provided financial support for stocking Murray cod.
At this stage, there is no firm commitment from the new state government to fund the ongoing stocking of native fish into the River Murray.
RecFish SA Executive Director Danny Simpson said they had developed a delivery model which demonstrated how community groups worked together to achieve outcomes.
“RecFish SA can provide the technical knowledge and experience while councils are amazing at motivating and organising community involvement,” he said.
“The health of Murray cod stocks in the SA section of the river is considered to be significantly poorer than areas upstream. We are hoping to recover stocks sufficiently to create a better-quality recreational fishing for Murray cod in SA that at least equals that of the upstream states.”