Scientists track vulnerable fish
ONE of the most impressive and largest fish to be seen in the Solitary Islands Marine Park is about to go under the microscope.
The vulnerable black cod will be the subject of an extensive survey next year led by a team of researchers from the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
Marine researcher Hamish Malcolm said the study would fill a high priority gap in marine knowledge for the Northern Rivers region.
“This project will provide comprehensive baseline data on the distribution and abundance of black cod, from South West Rocks north to Tweed Heads,” he said.
“While this part of the NSW coast is considered a stronghold for this species, little is known about its life history and ecology.”
The black cod has been protected in NSW waters since 1983 when its numbers declined due to spear fishing and line fishers.
“The slow growth rate of this fish, combined with its slow-moving, curious and territorial behaviour made it particularly vulnerable to over-fishing,” Mr Malcolm said.
The study will start in March and continue for a number of months. It is being conducted for the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.
Mr Malcolm said the project was vital to the future survival and management of the black cod along the Clarence Coast.
“Once the baseline data has been collected, it will provide the basis for ongoing monitoring of the black cod in the region,” he said.