Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reintroduction success of threatened Australian trout cod (Maccullochella macquariensis) based on growth and reproduction

Jarod P. Lyon A E G , Charles Todd A , Simon J. Nicol B , Alasdair MacDonald A , Daniel Stoessel A , Brett A. Ingram C , Richard J. Barker D and Corey J. A. Bradshaw E F

A Department of Sustainability and Environment, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.

B Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, BP D5, 98848 Noumea, CEDEX New Caledonia.

C Department of Primary Industries, Private Bag 20, Alexandra, Vic. 3714, Australia.

D Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.

E The Environment Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

F South Australian Research and Development Institute, PO Box 120, Henley Beach, SA 5022, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: jarod.lyon@dse.vic.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 63(7) 598-605 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF12034
Submitted: 2 February 2012  Accepted: 30 April 2012   Published: 29 June 2012

Abstract

Internationally, re-introductions of endangered species into their former ranges have largely failed. Here we assess a successful reintroduction program of the endangered trout cod (Maccullochella macquariensis) and examine factors contributing to this success. Stocking of marked fish (all stocked fish were marked) occurred between 1997 and 2006 in the Ovens River, south-eastern Australia, where trout cod were historically abundant but locally extinct by the 1980s. We found no natural recruits (i.e. from spawnings of stocked fish in the wild) over the age of six, indicating that natural recruitment started at most five years after stocking began. Of the 83 fish we examined for sexual maturity, 12 were immature, 20 were male, and 51 were female. The body length at which 50% of the population can be considered mature was 325 and 250 mm for females and males, respectively. The length at which 90% of the population was mature was 394 and 318 mm for females and males, respectively. The smallest mature female was 245 mm. Average relative fertility was 9 eggs g–1 fish weight. The results we obtained provide valuable insights into the aspects contributing to the success of reintroduction programs for endangered freshwater species.

Additional keywords: fish, Maccullochella macquariensis, recruitment, reintroduction, stocking, threatened.


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