Photos have spread across the internet of cod across the Murray Darling Basin river system with plump bellies and dozens of mice bodies sitting in their throat. Graham said that is not necessarily a bad thing, except the fish have a tendency to regurgitate everything in their stomachs when they are caught.
“It’s when they do it into the boat that gets me,” he said. “I’ve had a few dry heaves, it’s not the prettiest on the nose, that’s for sure.
“They swallow them whole so it’s like they’re slowly dissolving… it’s like a musty smell, they just start falling apart, but you can see the hair and the tails on the feet and it’s not the prettiest.”
Besides the disgusting new obstacle for fishermen, the cod’s new diet has raised further concerns about the NSW government’s proposed fix to the mice plague.
In May, the NSW agriculture minister, Adam Marshall, announced a $50m support package for affected regions, promising to “knock [the mice] into oblivion”.
On Thursday the minister announced $1.8m of this funding would go towards developing genetic biocontrol measures. This could include releasing modified mice into the wild that would spread their altered genes throughout the population and cause either more male than female mice to be born, or render all new female mice infertile.
While the government says the research is promising, it is being developed to help control future plagues. The centrepiece of its plan to combat the current crisis is the poison, bromadiolone.