Murray Cod Australia has lost almost 8000 fish after oxygen levels in a pond hit catastrophically low levels.

Staff managed to rescue 12,076 souls, Murray Cod (ASX:MCA) told investors.

“Due to rigorous emergency procedures implemented by staff 60 per cent of the stock in the pond were able to be saved despite the severe drop in dissolved oxygen that occurred overnight,” the company said.

The dead fish were worth $175,960, but are expected to be covered under insurance and won’t have a material impact on the company’s finances.

Pic: Murray Cod Australia
Murray Cod tapped the ASX for more cash to invest in its cod pens, rather than go to a loan shark. Pic: Murray Cod Australia

Staff discovered on November 13 that aeration systems in one of its 12 ponds had stopped working.

A monitoring system bought from an outside supplier failed to warn that oxygen levels were dropping.

Murray Cod was installing a new bespoke monitoring system — but the work wasn’t complete in the pond where the fatal malfunction occurred.

“The remaining fish are being monitored and MCA anticipates there will be a small percentage of additional mortalities over the next few days as a result of the stress the fish have suffered,” it said.

Murray Cod staff are now conducting night patrols to make sure ponds with older monitors do not suffer the same fate.

Pic: Murray Cod Australia
That fish cray. Murray Cod sees oppor-tuna-ty in supplying fresh fresh to Australia and Asia. Pic: Murray Cod Australia

Chairman Ross Anderson said the fatal incident was a freak accident that “will never happen again” as they roll out the new system.

“Through winter we don’t really have much of an issue with oxygen,” Mr Anderson told Stockhead.

“One of our staff checked the pond at 9.30pm on Sunday night, and by 5.30 monday morning it was clear something had gone wrong.

“Normally we have three different aerators operating. What happened was the bolt came off the electric motor of an aerator from an overseas manufacturer, which twisted the power cord and sliced partially though it. The aerator fell into the water and shorted out the whole pond.”

The clean up finished on Tuesday night, after the insurance assessors had been through.

The company expects to stock 400,000 fish this spring.

From a financial point of view this may not be a terrible event for Murray Cod.

The company harvests fish from each pond once a week, but never as many as 8000. This incident means it will receive a single payment for the dead fish from the insurer.

Murray Cod listed in January, raising $10 million, and had $2.2 million cash remaining at the end of September.

The shares were down almost 2 per cent at midday to 5.9c.