Catching a Murray Cod is not for the faint hearted; their small teeth are responsible for what is affectionately known in the fishing world as ‘Cod Thumb’.
To make the removal of fishing tackle easier from a hooked Murray Cod, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) in consultation with RecFish SA, has simplified the way in which this can be done to still remain within the rules, but give the Murray Cod a good chance of survival upon release.
From January 1 to July 31 annually, the Murray Cod catch and release season is open. The public can enjoy fishing for this species, but once caught the fish must be unhooked and released back in to the water immediately.
Murray Cod are fragile, particularly the larger ones, and must be handled with extreme care and respect.
Once a Murray Cod has been hooked and is ready to be released back to the water:
- 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.
These updated guidelines are designed to help fishers catch and release a Murray Cod, and safeguard the future of this iconic fish.
View the Murray Cod handling video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfc-EL2t654&feature=youtu.be
Quotes attributable to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture A/Executive Director, Sean Sloan
Updated handling methods have been created to make it easier for fishers to unhook a Murray Cod with minimum adverse impact on the fish.
Annual closures plus the catch and release season are in place due to stock concerns. Murray Cod came perilously close to extinction and in 2003 was listed as a species in decline.
PIRSA has worked with RecFish SA and the Riverland community to facilitate the release of cod fingerlings into the River Murray to help boost population numbers as part of the Murray Cod Stock Enhancement Program.
Quotes attributable to RecFish SA Michael Wilson
Catching and releasing a Murray Cod is one of the most special fishing experiences that you will ever have – it’s just incredible!
RecFish SA is a strong advocate for the catch and release season, and encourages fishers to take these new handling methods on board to help preserve Murray Cod populations for years to come.
By all means enjoy the fishing, but please take these tips on board to ensure that the great Murray Cod is still the king of the inland waterways in another 100 years’ time.
South Australia’s Murray Cod handling methods have been updated based on scientific data, current fisheries management practices and with input from recreational freshwater fishers.
More details about Murray Cod: 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.