Hi all Murray cod lovers, we are just getting underway a new project to find – and describe information related to – stuffed Murray cod in pubs around the Murray-Darling Basin. It is part cultural heritage, part environmental history and part biology. And it could be a lot of fun. But we need your help.
There are few concrete examples of past environmental conditions associated with our rivers in Australia, yet scientists, managers and conservationists are desperate to understand how things have changed, especially since European settlement. One obvious example, however, is those trophy fish which people used to – and in some cases still – love to display on the walls of their favourite watering hole.
Important information on past Murray cod
What possible information could they give us?… you may ask. Well, it depends. For some stuffed fish, there is just the fish, and in that case, there is not a lot we can do with it. But most trophies have the name of the angler, sometimes the date and even where it was caught. If we have location and date, then there is a lot of potential to get some interesting information – assuming there are enough of them around.
- Firstly, to have dates, sizes and locations of trophy fish would be an important source of data about what sorts and sizes of fish were being caught in the local rivers at particular times in the past. Any information about the date and location of the catch will give us insight into what was there historically.
- Secondly, relating the size of the trophy fish to when it was caught may give us an idea of how the idea of what was a ‘trophy-sized’ fish changed over time. And that may relate to how common or rare big fish were in the past – if really big fish are rare, then fish that are not quite so big will become trophy fish.
- Lastly, for those interested in such things, a map of the Murray-Darling Basin pubs that have trophy Murray cod on their walls, could be quite useful. We are sure that pubs with several large Murray cod on their walls would be attractive places to visit for the keen fisher!
So, what can you do?
If you know of a pub (or pubs!) anywhere in QLD, NSW, Victoria or South Australia within the Murray-Darling Basin that have stuffed Murray cod on their walls (actually, any fish would be interesting), then leave a comment here or email me – Paul Humphries – the name of the pub at the following email address:
Or you could join a new Facebook group (stuffedmurraycodinpubs) I have set up for the express purpose of sharing information about stuffed Murray cod in pubs. You can find it by clicking here. It is under construction, but I hope that it might be a good way to keep the information current.
We can then get in contact with each pub and see if they have any information relating to the fish. We promise to keep you informed through this blog as to the progress of the project.
Thanks in advance, Paul Humphries, Keller Kopf and Nicole McCasker