Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Redfin v perch: The battle in our rivers

THE redfin perch, also known as English perch, is a medium sized freshwater fish native to northern Europe and introduced to Australia in the 1860s. 

The noxious species is now known to be widespread through NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, south-eastern South Australia and the south-western corner of WA.

The redfin is a voracious predator that can destroy rec fisheries in enclosed waters by building up large numbers of stunted fish and eliminating other species, and can devastate native fish populations by carrying the epizootic haematopoietic necrosis (EHN) virus.

The redfin continues to have a devastating impact on Australia’s inland waters, especially in NSW. Fisho was contacted recently by Luke Pearce of NSW Fisheries who hopes to make anglers aware of the impact the redfin is currently having on the endangered Macquarie perch in the Upper Lachlan and Abercombie Rivers in western NSW.

“We have some great information about the devastating impacts that redfin are having, including the cause of the localised extinction of Macquarie perch from the Upper Lachlan,” Luke told Fisho.

“It would be great to get the message out to recreational anglers about the impacts of this species, but also the virtues of Macquarie perch, how abundant they were historically and how they supported large recreational fisheries and were revered for the sporting and eating qualities, and how they could potentially be again one day.”

As an example of the predatory behaviour of redfin, Luke also sent some photos he’d taken last week of redfin captured from Blakney Creek, a tributary of the Upper Lachlan.

He explained: “Blakney Creek is one of only three remaining locations we have Southern pygmy perch left in NSW and is under significant threat from redfin. Four of the 42 redfin I caught had Southern pygmy perch in their stomachs, and as the redfin are progressing up Blakney Creek they are wiping out the Southern pygmy perch as they go.”

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Two redfin caught in a tributary of the Lachlan River and the contents of their stomachs which included native southern pygmy perch.

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For the benefit of Fisho readers, Luke sent a copy of the presentation he recently gave the Central Acclimatisation Society on redfin impact on Macqurie perch in the Abercrombie and Upper Lachlan Rivers.

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