True Tales of the Trout Cod and other Australian Native Fish

About True Tales of the Trout Cod

River Histories of the Murray-Darling Basin by Will Trueman

In 2006, Will Trueman commenced work to validate accounts on the historic occurrence of Trout cod in a number of waterways by using multiple lines of evidence including oral histories, science, newspapers, diaries, and photographs (a process known as historical triangulation).

Ultimately, the aims of the project were to:

  1. Collect, collate and analyse historical information on native fish in the southern half of the Murray-Daring Basin;
  2. Identify the original distribution and habitat preferences of Trout cod and resolve the ongoing debate on this issue;
  3. Identify the original distribution and habitat preferences of other large fish species, primarily those of interest to anglers;
  4. Collect general historical information on native fish, in particular aspects of their biology;
  5. Document changes or events that may have contributed to the decline of native fish;
  6. Present the information collected in a format to assist scientists and managers engaged I the recovery of native fish but also accessible to the general public to increase community awareness of the plight of Trout cod and other native fish species.

The result is a large volume of information that provides a greater understanding of the fish and our rivers in the past.

With support from the Native Fish Strategy of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and through the services of the * Australian River Restoration Centre, the results from this project are now available on this website in a number of different formats to appeal toa wide range of audiences.

* The Australian River Restoration Centre team working on this project were Siwan Lovett, Nerida Hart, Richard Snashall, Vikki Bell, Allison Mortlock, Melissa Gabelle and Phil Price. Will Trueman was also a highly valued member of the team due to his ongoing commitment and work in developing this amazing history of the trout cod.

Heleena Bamford from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority managed the project and contributed a great deal of time, thought and effort to ensure this work could be shared by all.

The Native Fish Strategy

Freshwater fish in the Murray-Darling Basin provide a key link between people and rivers. People have strong cultural, spiritual, and recreational connections with native fish and healthy river populations provide significant ecological and economic benefits.

Native fish numbers have fallen to very low numbers due to changes in the Basin’s waterways, habitat destruction and non-native fish species. To improve the future of the Basin’s native fish, the Native Fish Strategy aims to rehabilitate native fish communities and populations.

To learn more about native fish or to get involved in the Native Fish Strategy visit the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Native Fish Strategy Program website.