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NMIT working to help save Murray Cod

09 Nov 2009

Numbers of the endangered Murray Cod were given a boost last week with the successful breeding of several thousand hatchlings at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT).


Dr Saleh Mobin examining Murray Cod Hatchlings Aquaculture students and staff at NMIT's Epping-based Aquaculture Training and Applied Research Centre are aiming to develop a commercially viable stock of the Murray Cod, a highly sought-after fish, considered a delicacy in Melbourne restaurants. When the hatchlings grow to more than 700g, they will be sold to seafood retailers or direct to restaurants.

Head of the Applied Aquaculture Program, Dr Saleh Mobin says in future he hopes the hatchery can be used for re-stocking programs in the Murray Darling river system, where the cod is currently under threat due to the effects of overfishing, habitat modification and drought conditions.

“I feel very proud as head of this program about what my students have achieved,” he says. “Breeding fish is a specialised area, and having the skilled manpower to manage these systems is crucial for the development of aquaculture in Australia and the survival of some native fish species.”

NMIT's Applied Aquaculture area plans to repeat the fertilisation process every year during the October breeding season. The breeding program involves injecting the parent fish with hormones to stimulate the release of the eggs and sperm. The eggs are then stripped from the females and fertilised with the sperm, before being placed in a hatching tank.

The first hatchlings to emerge are currently about 5-6mm in length. They will eventually grow to about 1kg in size.

The Murray Cod is naturally found north of the Great Dividing Range throughout the tributaries of the Murray River and the Murray Darling Basin. There are currently 35 commercial producers in south-eastern Australia of which 15 are producing fingerlings for stock enhancement and aquaculture. A market size fish will fetch between $20 and $30 a kilo.


What: New baby Murray Cod hatchlings at the School of Applied Aquaculture
Where: NMIT, Epping Campus
When: Photo opportunities/Interviews now available

 

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or jamesgardener@nmit.vic.edu.au

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.