Stockings make a future for endangered Mac perch

THE endangered Macquarie perch faces a better future with breeding success
achieved at the Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

In mid December last year 10,000 Macquarie perch fingerlings were being released into remote locations of the Abercrombie River in the NSW Central West.

Hatchery Manager of DPI Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Matt McLellan, said Macquarie
perch were once widespread across upland and midland areas of the Murray-Darling
Basin but the species has been in rapid decline since the mid-1900s.

“Habitat degradation, riverbank erosion, the introduction of foreign fish species such as
redfin, and dam construction have combined to push the species to the brink of extinction, leaving just six small, isolated populations across NSW,” Mr McLellan said.

“Over the last 20 years DPI and others have made several attempts to breed Macquarie
perch but they have met with little success until now. A concerted effort by DPI’s expert staff at Narrandera has led to high numbers of fingerlings being produced in recent years.

“I am pleased to say 10,000 ‘Macca’ fingerlings are being released into select remote
locations of the Abercrombie River in the Lachlan River catchment this week.

”This follows the release of about 7,500 Macquarie perch fingerlings in the same area two years ago.

“Another 2,000 Macquarie perch fingerlings are expected to be ready for stocking early in the new year and all of these have been bred at DPI’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre.”

The breeding program involves keeping the parent fish in ponds where aspects of the
Macquarie perch’s natural environment have been carefully recreated.


Fisheries staff sampling a potential stocking site. 

“The parents of these fingerlings are being held at Narrandera Fisheries Centre for safe
keeping because of fears that the noxious and invasive redfin perch, recently found in the upper Lachlan River catchment, could devastate Macquarie perch populations in that
area,” Mr McLellan said.

“Redfin compete for food and probably eat young Macquarie perch, as well as potentially carrying a devastating virus which is fatal to the fish.”

DPI is grateful for financial assistance and support from the Lachlan Catchment
Management Authority (CMA) and the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, where all money
raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee are placed into the Recreational Fishing
Trusts and spent on improving recreational fishing in NSW.


A Fisheries staffer with a small Macquarie perch.  

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