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Fate of 2 year-old, hatchery-reared trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis (Percichthyidae) stocked into two upland rivers

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Radio-tracking was used in monitoring the reintroduction of on-grown 2 year-old trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis (Percichthyidae) (a nationally endangered freshwater fish) in both a large and small upland river. Thirty-six radio-tagged M. macquariensis were stocked into a site in each of the Murrumbidgee and Cotter Rivers (Australian Capital Territory). Restricted dispersal occurred in both rivers, with both samples of M. macquariensis remaining within 5 km of the release site for the duration of the study. Mortality was rapid and 1 month after release 61 and 31% of the sample was alive in the Murrumbidgee and Cotter Rivers, respectively. In the Murrumbidgee River, complete mortality had occurred 6 months after release. An individual survived in the Cotter River until 7 months after release. Predation by cormorants Phalacrocorax spp. and predation or scavenging by the common water rat Hydromys chrysogaster were the probable causes of mortality. Predator-assisted movement of radio-tags by cormorants occurred in both groups and had the potential to confound interpretation of active dispersal movements.
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Keywords: Maccullochella; dispersal; mortality; predation; radio-tracking; stocking

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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