Murray cod befriended
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE Murray cod may occupy the highest rung of the foodchain in the freshwater of the Murray-Darling basin, but it is also a highly sought-after breed when it comes to being on our dinner plates.
However, between changes in the river habitat, environmental factors including the removal of habitat through desnagging of rivers, reduction of their food supply and overfishing, the Murray cod has had a fight on its fins to survive.
But thanks to scientist Brett Ingram, who attended South Grafton High before studying marine biology at James Cook University, the cod now has a better chance of being preserved.
Dr Ingram, along with a team of researchers, has been working at a Department of Primary Industries hatchery at Snobs Creek in Victoria for around 15 years.
He has been working on ways to develop sustainable farming production techniques for the Murray cod.
Last year, due to the amount of information he and his team have contributed through their research, Dr Ingram received an award from the Victorian Government for his work.
But Dr Ingram was keen to point out that the award was not because of work he has been doing by himself.
"It's good to be acknowledged for your effort but at the same time you feel a bit bad because the research is not just my work," Dr Ingram said.
"It's really a team-based contribution that many people have worked on over many years, and you really feel it should be shared between a group rather than given to an individual."
Dr Ingram and his colleagues are also investigating the genetic structure of wild Murray cod populations to assist in their conservation and management.
Despite his years of working with cod, Dr Ingram said it was never a breed in which he intended to specialise.
"With marine biology, jobs come up in different areas and you tend to follow them," Dr Ingram said.
"No, I never thought we'd get an award."