ENDANGERED Macquarie perch have been given protected status, banning their take by recreational fishers from two remaining Victorian waterways.
Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said take of the native fish, commonly known as “Maccas”, had been prohibited as part of an effort to give wild populations the best chance to be re-established.
“We’re serious about bringing Maccas back and this will ensure the population at Lake Dartmouth can flourish in years to come,” Dowling said
“The decision complements significant investment from the Victorian Government, along with a range of partner agencies, to ensure Maccas have a bright future in Victoria.”
Previously Macquarie perch had a bag limit of 1 in Lake Dartmouth, which is home to an active breeding population of the fish, and a bag limit of 2 in Upper Coliban Reservoir.
In 2023 the VFA began a three-year partnership worth $3.7 million led by the Federal and Victorian governments to crack the code on how to reliably breed Macquarie perch in captivity.
The project is being supported by a range of government, university and community organisations and research partners. It will examine nutrition, hormones, the timing of breeding and more to understand how to consistently produce fingerlings for stocking.
Their recovery is also being boosted by $15m worth of development at the VFA’s Snobs Creek and Arcadia hatcheries, funded by the Victorian Government’s Go Fishing and Boating Victoria plan. The ongoing work will see all Murray cod production move to Arcadia, freeing up capacity at Snobs Creek to maximise Macquarie perch breeding.
Since 2022, the VFA’s Snobs Creek hatchery has produced more than 185,000 Macquarie perch that have been stocked into Victorian waters to establish populations both old and new – with more to come this summer.
“It’s all about bringing back fisheries for Maccas in the future and returning these beautiful fish to their former glory in Victoria’s rivers and lakes,” Dowling said.
More info at www.vfa.vic.gov.au/recoveringmaccas