Cod balls for Yerrabi
Forty eight reef balls - hollow concrete domes of varying sizes - have been lowered into Yerrabi Pond to provide additional habitat for native fish.PT0M52S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2dnaz 620 349 January 31, 2013
Canberra is nurturing Murray cod in ways that rival the national capital's affection for gang-gang cockatoos.
On Thursday 48 reef balls - hollow concrete domes of varying sizes - will be lowered into Yerrabi Pond to provide additional habitat for native fish, including the cod.
Capital Region Fishing Alliance and the ACT's environment department, which provided $20,000 for the project, will lower the artificial habit into the water at several locations around the popular Gungahlin pond, where anglers said the natives have fewer competing carp compared to other Canberra lakes.
Murray cod. Photo: Supplied
Last July, 50 reef balls were submerged into the Molonglo River to encourage Murray cod to breed. It followed clusters of reef balls working in Botany Bay.
Fishing alliance president Shane Jasprizza said the latest trial will be monitored to gauge the success in improving the habitat for cod and golden perch.
''Our local lakes are relatively devoid of habitat suitable for native fish, with most being cleared when they were constructed,'' he said. ''Reef balls have proven successful in coastal lakes and estuaries, increasing species diversity and overall fish numbers, but this is the first time we know of that they have been trialled on freshwater native species. If successful, we hope to expand the program to other urban lakes and ponds''.
The artificial habitat should complement the existing native fish-stocking program, with the aim of enhancing recreational fishing, the main focus of the Capital Region Fishing Alliance.
Mr Jasprizza said the Murray-Darling Basin Recreational Fishing Council's studies show anglers spend around $1.3 billion annually in the basin.
''Enhancing our fishing opportunities for native species here in Canberra will see more people fishing locally instead of spending their money travelling outside the ACT,'' he said.
Last week, rumours swirled through the angling community of police moving on kayakers from the Yerrabi pond. The ACT's Policing and Territory and Municipal Services said no such action took place.