RESEARCHERS at the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF) Bribie Island Research Centre have bred the first ever captive jungle perch fingerlings.
Research leader Dr Michael Hutchison said the 35mm fingerlings were reared from fertilised eggs through to a size suitable for stocking into rivers over a period of 60 days.
“Previously no larvae have been reared beyond six days old and a few millimetres long,” Dr Hutchison said.
“Over the years, jungle perch have become very scarce but now there is the potential to reintroduce this species to rivers in South-eastern Queensland and in the Mackay-Whitsunday region.
“There are still significant challenges ahead to improve early larval survival and the production of sufficient quantities of fingerlings for viable restocking, but we have made tremendous progress to reach this point.
“This breakthrough is very exciting news not only for the sustainability of the species, but for the broader community and recreational fishers.
“Restocking our rivers with jungle perch would provide a big boost to local recreational fishing.”
Jungle perch are an iconic angling fish reaching more than 3kg in weight. Their habitat includes coastal rivers and streams from Cape York to Northern New South Wales. They spend most of their life in freshwater but migrate to salt water to spawn.
The jungle perch project is co-funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. On completion, the production technology will be provided to private commercial hatcheries.