Mary River Cod

Maccullochella mariensis
Mary River Cod - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Maccullochella mariensis
Other names East Coast Cod, Cod
Size Up to 1.2 m (3.93 ft)
Weight Up to 40 kg (88 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Freshwater streams in deep pools amongst wooden debris & other under water structure
Depth Range 1 - 6 m (19 ft)
Mary River Cod Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Mary River Cod is a freshwater fish species found only in the Mary River in Queensland.
  • Mary River cod have a distinctive appearance, with a broad, flattened head and a large mouth full of sharp teeth. They have a mottled, olive green colouration with darker blotches and spots.
  • Mary River Cod are a threatened species, with populations declining due to habitat degradation, overfishing, and the introduction of invasive species.
  • The Queensland Government has classified the species as “vulnerable” under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
  • Mary River Cod is an apex predator in their ecosystem, feeding on other fish and crustaceans. They are primarily nocturnal, spending their days in the deep pools of the river and venturing out at night to hunt.
  • The species has a limited distribution, with a range of only around 100 kilometres of the Mary River and its tributaries.
  • Mary River cod are able to survive in waters with low oxygen levels, thanks to their ability to extract oxygen from the air using a specialised structure in their swim bladder called a “suprabranchial organ”.
  • Mary River Cod are slow-growing and long-lived, with some individuals reaching 50 years of age.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing

Interaction with Mary River cod primarily occurs through recreational fishing, as the species is not commercially fished. o ensure the continued survival of the Mary River cod, it is important that recreational fishing is managed sustainably and that anglers follow local fishing regulations and guidelines. This includes practicing catch-and-release fishing techniques, using appropriate fishing gear, and avoiding fishing during the breeding season.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Percichthyidae

Genus: Maccullochella

Species: Maccullochella mariensis

Conservation Status

The Mary River Cod is listed as a vulnerable species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. It is also designated as a priority fish species under the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy.

Fish Taste Quality

Mary River cod are a threatened species and its not recommended to eat. In addition, due to the species’ long lifespan there is potential for accumulation of pollutants in their tissues.

Taste Rating: no rating

How to catch
Mary River Cod

Catch Difficulty: Difficult

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Lures, Prawns, Worms, Yabbies, Soft plastics, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait close to structure, Cast lures close to structure

Popularity: Targeted