Jungle perch to get a boost

JUNGLE perch are set to make a comeback in Queensland waters with the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) receiving $483,000 in funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to accelerate fingerling production.

Principal fisheries biologist Michael Hutchison said there was a lot of demand from fishers for jungle perch, which had become very scarce in the southern half of Queensland.

“In many areas the environmental causes behind this disappearance (including barriers to migration) have now been addressed, so we have an opportunity to reintroduce jungle perch to rivers in South-eastern Queensland and in the Mackay-Whitsunday region,” he said.

“To do that, we need to produce jungle perch fingerlings and this is where our research comes in.

“We have been able to successfully spawn jungle perch in the past, but getting the tiny larvae to feed has been problematic.

“This newly-funded work at the Bribie Island Research Centre will focus on nutrition of adult fish to improve egg and larval quality, tank rearing conditions and appropriate larval feeds to solve this problem.

“The fingerlings produced will be stocked into suitable river habitats to re-establish jungle perch fisheries where they used to occur. The survival of stocked fingerlings will be monitored to help improve future stocking success.

“It is also proposed that successful fingerling production techniques are passed on to private hatcheries.”

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Breeding for the future – a 3.1kg jungle perch brood stock fish. Image: DAFF QLD.

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.

DAFF is the lead agency in this work and is partnered by James Cook University and the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland. The project funding is provided by the Commonwealth Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

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