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Native fish breeding breakthrough

A breakthrough at the Snobs Creek hatchery in Victoria has resulted in large numbers of Macquarie perch being bred in captivity for the first time.

The successful breeding of the perch was made by DPI aquaculture scientists the result of an initiative begun in 2009. More details here. The Snobs Creek scientists used improved diet management and advanced hormone therapy to induce egg maturation and spawning.

Four fish spawned over summer resulted in the hatching of 11,700 larvae.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Snobs Creek produced Macquarie perch for stocking programs using brood stock caught from the wild during spawning. Despite numerous attempts over the last half century, the breeding of Macquarie perch using fish held in captivity at Snobs Creek has been unsuccessful until now.

In 2009, DPI instigated a new breeding program for Macquarie perch that saw 3,550 fingerlings released into Expedition Pass Reservoir and Hollands Creek, near Tatong, last year. This year 8,300 Macquarie perch were released into three waterways over summer, including 5,600 fingerlings bred in captivity.

Expedition Pass Reservoir received 3,000 fish, Lake William Hovell 2,800 and the Ovens River 2,800 between Myrtleford and Wangaratta.

The breeding of endangered Macquarie perch in captivity was also successfully carried out in NSW last year by scientists at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre – read details here.

Also of note at the Snobs Creek hatchery is its new native fish production facility, which is expected to significantly boost the supply of fish for restocking.

The completion of the $1.9 million project will allow for asignificant increase in the production of species such as Murray cod and golden perch. It will helpreplenish native fish stocks in Victorian rivers and lakes. The upgrades have seen a series of new ponds built to accommodatebrood fish, three new plankton ponds for juvenile fish and aneco-friendly wetland for the treatment of effluent water. It alsoincludes new state-of-the-art facilities for incubating and rearingnative fish.

The new native fish facilities complement the trout and salmonproduction capacity at Snobs Creek. The Victorian Government hasapproved the allocation of funding to expand and upgrade the SnobsCreek trout hatchery.

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