More than 70 years after the species were last recorded in the catchment, 7,500 juvenile Macquarie Perch were released back into the Macquarie River catchment at Winburndale Dam in March 2021.
It is our hope these fingerlings will grow up to establish a new population here and once again become abundant in the Macquarie River catchment from which they derive their name.
The project was funded under the Government’s $10 million 2019/20 NSW Native Fish Rescue Program.
‘Reaching for Recovery’ is a Local Land Services and NSW DPI Fisheries project, funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program up until 2023. Its focus is on South East NSW populations, working collaboratively towards a 5, 10 and 50 year vision to vastly improve Macquarie Perch populations and habitat.
Recovery actions underway include: habitat restoration, undertaking ‘genetic rescue’ actions, monitoring and control of invasive fish, and building a strong framework for ongoing monitoring to support assisted increases in critically low populations. This project is a first step toward a long term vision. The continuation and growth of partnerships between community, government support agencies and researchers beyond the life of this project are vital to reaching the 50 year goal.
As part of the ‘Reaching For Recovery’ project with Southeast LLS, DPI organised a genetic rescue stocking of 40 Macquarie Perch from Cataract Dam into the upper Murrumbidgee River to enhance the local population. Some of the fish were released at Cooma in November 2020 as part of a community event involving a range of local partners in the project assisting with riparian rehabilitation (South East Local Land Services, Rivers of Carbon, Landcare, and local landowners). A new ‘take a selfie’ Macquarie Perch advisory sign was also installed and unveiled at the Cooma Weir Picnic Area. Further genetic rescue translocations are planned over the next few years.
NSW DPI has established a new partnership with Victorian Fisheries Authority to jointly promote recovery of Macquarie Perch across the State border. In February 2021 Victoria provided NSW with 2,500 Macquarie Perch fingerlings produced at their Snobs Creek Hatchery which have been stocked into Mannus Creek (Upper Murray River) to assist with the recovery of the local population that was severely impacts by the 2019-20 bushfires. While a few adults have been sampled since the habitat conditions improved during 2020, this stocking will provide a significant recruitment and genetic enhancement boost to the remnant local population in Mannus Creek.
DPI Research staff confirmed that Macquarie Perch in a waterway near Oberon are breeding. This has confirmed that our conservation stocking of over 19,000 captive bred fish have established a new breeding population of the species in NSW. Surveys also confirmed that Macquarie Perch adults stocked into the Bolong River are also persisting. This project has taken over 10 years of effort to achieve this significant result.
See Macquarie Perch for more information about the species.