Eastern Freshwater Cod

Scientific name

Maccullochella ikeiHow to ID an Eastern Freshwater Cod (Photo: B. Vercoe)

Status in NSW



Eastern Freshwater Cod is distinguished by:

  1. Large, elongated, deep-bodied fish
  2. Relatively small eyes
  3. Short, rounded, depressed snout with a distinctly concave profile
  4. Lower jaw protrudes
  5. Large mouth that extends below the back of the eye
  6. Generally yellow green to golden colour, with a speckled pattern of black to very dark green spots


Eastern Freshwater Cod can weigh up to 41kg but are more commonly less than 5kg and 660mm

Species similar in appearance

Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) and Mary River Cod (Maccullochella peelii mariensis).


Eastern Freshwater Cod is only found in the Clarence and Richmond River catchments of northern NSW.


Eastern Freshwater Cod are typically found in clear, flowing streams with rocky substrate and large amounts of in-stream cover such as boulders or large woody debris Such areas provide complex habitats which influence the quality and quantity of food and shelter.

Eastern Freshwater Cod habitat

Why is the Eastern Freshwater Cod threatened?

  • Historical over-fishing, including use of explosives
  • Water pollution from tailings dams at gold and tin mines in the Clarence system
  • Fluctuations in water levels, flows and water temperatures due to river regulation
  • Habitat degredation due to increased sedimentation, loss of aquatic vegetation
  • Removal of riparian vegetation reduces bank stability, reduces shading, increases water temperatures and reduces habitat quality
  • Predation and competition with introduced fish such as Banded Gunther (Amniataba percoides)
  • Illegal fishing practices remove breeding age adults

An Eastern Freshwater Cod (Photo: B. Vercoe)

More information

Watch a video of Eastern Freshwater Cod in the Clarence River Catchment NSW, 2017 (1:55 mins)