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Macquarie perch numbers boosted

MORE than 22,000 Macquarie perch were recently stocked into four Victorian waters to help rebuild stocks of this endangered freshwater fish.

Fish have been released into Expedition Pass Reservoir (5,000), Lake Dartmouth (5,000), the Ovens River near Myrtleford (6,320) and the Goulburn River near Trawool (6,320).

The fingerling perch were produced at the Fisheries Victoria’s Snobs Creek hatchery.

Wild Macquarie perch populations were once common but have declined, so these stockings will assist in the recovery of the species. In recent years, some Macquarie perch have been sourced from Lake Dartmouth for the breeding program so stockings there this year have been to acknowledge that contribution.

Lake Dartmouth is home to Australia’s largest population of Macquarie perch although a strong translocated population also exists in the mid-sections of the Yarra River.

Native Fish Australia and researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute contributed to the breeding program by collecting Macquarie perch broodfish from both waters.

Fisheries Victoria have been working to develop several new fisheries for Macquarie perch where fishers can catch the species on a limited basis.

Expedition Pass Reservoir, near Castlemaine, is one such example that is progressing well. A survey last year revealed Macquarie perch as long as 28 centimetres, a sign that some of the 10,000 fingerlings stocked over recent years have survived and grown.

Fisheries managers hope to open the fishery at Expedition Pass Reservoir in coming years. For now, fishers can only take Macquarie perch from Lake Dartmouth, the Yarra River and the Upper Coliban Reservoir in accordance with the bag, size and season limits.

The Macquarie perch breeding program is funded by the Victorian Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative.

For more about the Recreational Fishing Initiative visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/betterfishing

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