Macquarie perch stocked in the wild

THE endangered Macquarie perch has received a boost to its numbers with the release of 7500 fingerlings in the upper Lachlan catchment near Oberon in central western NSW. 

“This release of these fingerlings is the result of the successful world-first captive breeding program at the NSW Government’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre,” said Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.

“The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) researchers have built on their experiences when they first bred a batch of the endangered Macquarie perch in late 2010.

“While researchers are still trialling alternative hatchery techniques, they managed to produce a considerable number of larvae this year which had almost 100 per cent survival.

“This has resulted in a massive leap in the numbers of Macquarie perch fingerlings being released into the wild, going from just hundreds last year to over seven thousand this year,” said Ms Hodgkinson.

Money from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust is used to fund the Macquarie perch rescue and captive breeding project.

The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority has helped create a safe haven for the fingerlings to grow up in, away from the potential threat of redfin perch which are known to prey upon and compete for food with Macqaurie perch.

NSW DPI researchers will now aim to have the broodfish spawn by themselves in an artificial stream located at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

Local angling representative body, the Central Acclimatisation Society (CAS) Honorary Secretary, Karl Schaerf said the society was a long-time supporter of native and threatened fish species in the region and was delighted when notified of this latest achievement.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most remarkable achievements in fisheries conservation in Australia and it deserves to be recognised as such,” Mr Schaerf said.

“On behalf of CAS, and all anglers and conservationists concerned about the likely extinction of our native species, our sincere thanks to all involved for bringing back, from the verge of possible extinction, this unique and delightful little fish.”

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