Hot days and drying waterways are making for tough times, including for our native fish. 

But collaboration, community and cross-border cooperation has led to the relocation of dozens of catfish across 250km for reintroduction to an old habitat – and Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) staff were instrumental in this complex catfish rescue. 

Barham Lake, just across the Murray near Kerang, is a habitat for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee-listed threatened catfish, but the lake is drying rapidly. 

The Wangaratta Sustainability Network (WSN), meanwhile, has been seeking catfish to reintroduce to the Mullinmur Billabong on the Ovens River. 

In the 1930s, catfish were common in the Ovens River, but its range and abundance have declined through various threats. 

The WSN and partners have spent years at the billabong managing weeds, planting native species, removing carp and delivering environmental water to create a healthy fish habitat. 

WSN made a call for catfish to be reintroduced as Barham Lake was seeking to relocate some of their catfish population. 

ARI staff collected 71 catfish from Barham Lake, translocating 60 to Mullinmur Billabong and 11 to a lake in Moulamein, NSW.

An angler holds a catfish Several catfish caught in a net for transportation Photos courtesy Renae Ayres, ARI.