National Geographic filming in Riverina

12/08/2010:   A National Geographic film crew from InFocus-Asia based in Singapore will be visiting the Riverina in mid August as part of a worldwide monster fish series.

They will be focussing on the symbol of the Murray - the Murray cod, an iconic large bodied fish much loved by anglers and the community across the Murray Darling Basin.

National Geographic has been working with Industry & Investment NSW (I&I NSW) and the Murray Catchment Management Authority (CMA) to provide footage and information for the film crew.

I&I NSW research scientist at Narrandera Fisheries, Lee Baumgartner, said National Geographic's visit to the region was a fabulous opportunity to showcase world-class research and management activities that are helping Murray cod populations to recover throughout the Murray-Darling Basin.

"Our message is that the Murray cod might be one of the few monster fish species in the world that are recovering, thanks to a basin-wide initiative to recover native fish in the Murray-Darling," he said.

"Scientists and managers are aiming to restore native fish communities to 60 per cent of their indigenous level within the next 50 to 60 years. Murray cod will be one of the few success stories covered in this monster fish series, and a story that communities around the world can learn from."

Footage obtained during the crew's visit to the Murray Darling Basin will run in a one-hour National Geographic documentary series, which regularly screens on the National Geographic channel (Austar Sundays 5.30pm) and features many major rivers in world including such places as the Mekong (giant Mekong catfish), Russia and South America (Amazon basin).

The series stars Dr Zeb Hogan, a PhD fisheries biologist who heads the National Geographic-funded 'Monster fish' project - a three-year project, which aims to track and document the largest species of freshwater fish on six continents around the world.

Catchment officer with the Murray CMA based at Deniliquin, Dr John Conallin, said during their time in the region, the film crew would also be shown various fish habitats, and they would meet with local farmers and indigenous groups.

"They will tour a range of management interventions and have a hands-on role with important research aiming to bring back the Murray cod to historical levels," he said.

Media contact: Sarah Chester (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669