Internationally, re-introductions of endangered species into their former ranges have largely failed. Here we assess a successful reintroduction program of the endangered trout cod (Maccullochella macquariensis) and examine factors contributing to this success. Stocking of marked fish (all stocked fish were marked) occurred between 1997 and 2006 in the Ovens River, south-eastern Australia, where trout cod were historically abundant but locally extinct by the 1980s. We found no natural recruits (i.e. from spawnings of stocked fish in the wild) over the age of six, indicating that natural recruitment started at most five years after stocking began. Of the 83 fish we examined for sexual maturity, 12 were immature, 20 were male, and 51 were female. The body length at which 50% of the population can be considered mature was 325 and 250mm for females and males, respectively. The length at which 90% of the population was mature was 394 and 318mm for females and males, respectively. The smallest mature female was 245mm. Average relative fertility was 9 eggs g-1 fish weight. The results we obtained provide valuable insights into the aspects contributing to the success of reintroduction programs for endangered freshwater species.
- Maccullochella macquariensis