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National Geographic Highlights Mighty Murray Cod

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AUSTRALIA - The conservation work of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) staff at Narrandera Fisheries Centre will be highlighted in a documentary on the mighty Murray cod, which will be screened nationwide next Monday (22 August) on the National Geographic channel.

The programme titled 'Danger Down Under' was filmed in the Riverina and is part of the monsterfish series which covers large freshwater fish from all over the world and showcases many major rivers including the Mekong and the Amazon basin.

NSW DPI Narrandera Fisheries Centre research scientist, Dr Lee Baumgartner, said a film crew visited the Riverina region last year to film the documentary and raise awareness about issues facing the iconic Murray cod.

“Over the years Murray cod have suffered substantially due to overfishing, habitat loss, poor water quality, pest species and river regulation,” he said.

“The main message of the documentary is that the Murray cod might be one of the few monster fish species in the world that are recovering, thanks to a basin-wide initiative to recover native fish in the Murray-Darling system.

“Murray cod will be one of the few success stories covered in this monsterfish series, and a story that communities around the world can learn from.”

Dr Baumgartner said the crew worked closely with a number of staff from the NSW Government searching for Murray cod in the Murrumbidgee and Murray catchments.

“The documentary is the result of the 14-day expedition which took place last August,” he said.

“The team performed electro fishing, stocking, fishway trapping and angling to help raise awareness of the many different measures being used to protect the mighty fish and to highlight the importance of the fish to rural communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin."

“Fisheries scientists and managers are aiming to restore native fish communities to 60 per cent of their indigenous level within the next 50 to 60 years.”

The documentary screens on the National Geographic Channel for the first time on Monday at 7:30pm and can also be seen on Tuesday 23 August at 1:30am, Friday 26 August at 10:30am and Saturday 27 August at 5:30pm.