The results are in and it is as I suspected there are no blackfish in the Curdies river or it tributaries . just think for a minute what that means , If it is true that each catchment has a different gene pool then we have lost the genetics from an entire river system , while we have been asleep at the wheel we have lost a fish through negligence , laziness , apathy and some bad actors .

What to do now .

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Yarra Pygmy Perch eDNA Survey Result

The results are in!

The Enviro DNA Laboratory in Parkville got the results of our recent eDNA survey back to us this week.

Together we sampled 31 sites across the Curdies River catchment. Yarra Pygmy Perch are present through the Curdies River from the above the estuary up to the Lavers-Hill Cobden Road and in the Cooriemungle / Scotts Creek up to the Port Campbell-Cobden Road. Yarra Pygmy Perch were not recorded from any of the more minor tributaries, or surprisingly from any further up the Cooriemungle Creek above the Scotts Creek confluence (around Williams Rd – Timboon-Colac Rd intersection) where we would predict their distribution based on the habitat and stream flow. These results indicate that Yarra Pygmy Perch are present in around 65 kilometres of waterways in the Curdies catchment and improves our current understanding of their distribution, previously recorded with any regularity, from the lower reaches around the trestle bridge site.

Interestingly, Southern Pygmy Perch are recorded across a much broader area and being closely related and utilising similar habitats it is interesting that Southern Pygmy Perch are present in some of the more minor tributaries where Yarra Pygmy Perch were not recorded. Southern Pygmy Perch are recorded throughout the Curdies River right up to Purrumbeete – Beals Rd where the habitat is in very poor condition and typically dry over summer. They’re also recorded in Sunday, Monday, Whiskey, Fenton and Scotts creeks, and another minor tributary just downstream of the trestle bridge.

River Blackfish eDNA was sampled from ten locations in the Curdies River, Cooriemungle, Scotts, Black Glen and Cowleys Creek. No positive results were recorded.

I have attached some maps which will help to visualise where each species was recorded and their distribution throughout the Curdies catchment.

Thankyou all again for your contribution in helping us to understand the current status of these important threatened species in our catchments.

Kind regards,

Anthony Byrne
Project Officer | Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

The face / mug behind https://fishsticks.co/https://fishsticks.co/

This is the face of one dinosaur , the owner of https://fishsticks.co/and the blackfish farm , my name is Stephen Mueller if you wish to contact me my phone is 0407843998 or this blog or the Facebook group Blackfish Action Members.



And this is the face of a dinofish , not really this is face of a blackfish waiting to be fed.


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This fish is part of a breeding attempt , if we can get them to breed in tanks then we can move one step closer to a hatchery.


Press on

Never give up, especially to bureaucrats , in todays Cobden Coast Times there is an article that sums up pretty well how the swamp works, anyone who has been to lake Mumblin knows that the fish will never be able to get out, the swamp don’t seem to worry about all the frogs trout eat along rivers where their not suppose to be not a word, and they definitely don’t do anything to get them out , rivers like the Curdies and the Gellibrand  , they claim that the fish will not thrive in  lake Mumblin , how the hell do they know that , they haven’t been able  breed blackfish in the last 2 hundred years and yet they try and tell me where the fish will survive.                       Press on.JPG

And on top of that they didn’t have the guts to ring or e-mail me I was told to ring a ranger at Port Campbell to find out .

If this is the best we get from the stewards of our environment then i want my money back, i didnt work my ass of  for forty years so these so and so,s can sit there and screw things up , take a look at the state of Bullen Merri it will nothing short of a farm run off dam soon and they do nothing.



The Plumber

To say these fish are flexible is an understatement, they contort their bodies into all kinds of shapes , in this video we see a fish coming out of a u shaped pipe , he was looking for food I suspect .

They are shaped in such a way so they can manoeuvre there way into very tight spots while hunting and just to avoid predators and even lay eggs.

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Body shape is important for all fish and with the blackfish the fins allow for traction in all kinds of places.

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You can see the eye is situated quite high giving the fish a good look overhead  and in front and  side when searching for food such as insects that may fall on the water or other fish in front , the Barbels in the last post give the fish a good all around picture of likely prey in the bottom of their range such as yabbies,

Their eyes gives them good night vision and is adequate in the daylight for feeding.

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While this fish missed the grub on this occasion it recovered and found it when I wasn’t filming.

The fish also have the ability to contort their body to hunt and also get into the tightest of spaces.

I think the fish can be described as both a opportunistic and  predatory , they can be caught in the day time if you place the bait in the correct areas so the literature is wrong about being solely nocturnal when they are hungry they will act  in a more opportunistic manner waiting for food to come to them rather than hunting, After having studied these fish now for a long period of time I think the ratio is about 80 percent nocturnal and 20 percent diurnal .

All up the fish is a great predator and deserves its place at the  top of the food chain.

I have removed the fish from the aquarium in the  shipping container for the hot months and placed it in tank 4 with three other fish it now has the chance to breed with other fish and I hope it does.


I have two blackfish in aquaria this is the smaller of the two and I just added a dozen freshwater shrimp , and I think he likes them.

Notice he left it until it was in the rocks and then felt it with his barbels.


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In this second video you can see how the larger of the fish tests the worms with his barbels  and when he is happy they are proper food he backs up and eats one.

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As some of you know here at fishsticks we have a permit to experiment with blackfish.

these experiments have culminated in fishsticks being the first to breed river blackfish in a farm setting ie we have recovered enough young fish to justify the method in other words we have managed to farm the fish. THE FIRST.

Once we had been successful we had surplus fish so I offered these fish to fisheries for restocking however because the brood stock came from a dam and not natural water they could not go into the river systems ( genetics) so I looked around and found a lake that once had trout and redfin but apparently no longer, fisheries agreed and a survey was carried out and the survey of the lake was positive there were no protected fish no turtles no eels no trout or redfin left the local council was on board (they could see the potential) as were local farmers, a small amount of earth works was need to ensure safety of potential fishers in other words good to go except it had to be okayed by the managers of the lake which happened to be parks , parks sent it to the DWELP and they crushed the whole plan.


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So we now have a situation where blackfish cannot go into any empty body of water because they might impact on the local inhabitants such as frogs etc ( funny how the trout were ok) to put juvenile fish into water that holds both rainbow and brown trout is just suicide so where can these fish go!





Yabby for lunch

I am getting some great video of the blackfish in the aquarium recently , he has gotten used to me being around and will feed while I watch .

In this video we see him take a yabby on the second bite and then struggles to find his pipe I think because the lights in the container where on .

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We can safely say that you would not want to be a yabby anywhere near a blackfish.

i am stunned that their growth rates are so slow ( given the food this one eats) perhaps the lack of high protein food such as yabbies and moths in their natural enviroments  are a factor.

I am going on a field trip to Tassie soon and we know that Gadopsis marmoratus grow to much larger sizes down there( up to eight kilos) and we also know that they have access to much bigger crustaceans, it will be interested to see for myself hat foods are availiable.