Successful catch and release of the mighty Murray cod
Angling tips for ensuring fish survival and longevity from Andy McGovern, Pro Angler.
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With each passing Murray cod season, and the growing number of anglers, both new and old, looking to chase this iconic species, the catch rates and pressure on these fish continues to increase. Commendably, most anglers now release their Murray cod to live, breed, and prosper. Through the flood of social media posts, with anglers holding beautiful big cod for a photo, as well as short release video clips, it is obvious that however well-intentioned these fishers are, many folks could brush-up on handling techniques to ensure that not only does the cod swim away, but that it has the best chance at a long and healthy life. The correct handling methods will reduce stress on the fish, avoid damage or harm to vital organs, and most importantly facilitate a healthy release.

As part of the Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish Recovery Strategy, I have been working with the Upper Murrumbidgee Recovery Reach and the Australian River Restoration Centre to create a suite of short, online educational videos to demonstrate and explain the best handling techniques for Murray cod. These clips run through some key steps an angler can take to reduce stress on the fish, minimise unintentional damage, and release them with minimal harm. You can watch the full video below, or scroll down the page to watch the tips individually.

Whether you are looking to land your first fish, or you’ve been fishing for decades, please forward this page and share these tips with your fishing friends, so that we can ensure the longevity and future of our magnificent Murray cod.

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Why is this important?

Murray cod were once a plentiful species throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, however, they are now threatened by overfishing, mishandling, and environmental changes. The species are endemic to Australia and are currently listed as a vulnerable species under the EPBC Act, highlighting their national significance. Their rarity, status, and beauty make them a popular angling fish for many recreational fishers. It is crucial that proper catch and release practices be implemented during the upcoming fishing season in order to protect our gorgeous Murray cod for many more seasons to come.

Close up of a Murray cod. Photo credit: Andy McGovern