Priorities Action Statement - Actions for Oxleyan Pygmy Perch

Oxleyan pygmy perchOxleyan Pygmy Perch
© Gunther Schmida

Electrofishing for Oxleyan pygmy perchElectrofishing for Oxleyan Pygmy Perch

Habitat of Oxleyan pygmy perchHabitat of Oxleyan Pygmy Perch
© Jamie Knight

Habitat of Oxleyan pygmy perchHabitat of Oxleyan Pygmy Perch
© Jamie Knight

Recovery Actions

Advice to consent and determining authorities

  • Develop Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for pygmy perch and distribute these to relevant councils, Local Land Services, State government agencies, environmental consultants and developers (High priority).
  • Negotiate with councils in regard to local environmental plans, development control plans and other planning documents, regarding the type and scale of development near pygmy perch populations and habitat (High priority).
  • Provide appropriate knowledge and expertise to assist councils to develop drain management plans which avoid or minimise the impacts of drain construction and maintenance on pygmy perch populations and habitats (Medium priority).

Collate and review existing information

  • Review regulatory and voluntary incentive based mechanisms available to enhance protection for key pygmy perch habitat areas and apply as required. This may include the use of critical habitat provisions, aquatic protected areas, voluntary conservation agreements etc. (Medium priority).

Community and stakeholder liaison, awareness and education

  • Communicate information on the conservation and legal status of pygmy perch through appropriate media such as aquarium industry journals, society newsletters, conference etc (Medium priority).
  • Develop and distribute pygmy perch educational materials including information on the species habitat and role in the ecosystem (Medium priority).
  • Install signs and/or interpretative displays at appropriate locations (e.g. access points for national parks or on council managed land) (Medium priority).
  • Produce and distribute information brochures (e.g. Primefacts) and other advisory materials. Advisory material will be posted to stakeholders and distributed at meetings, community days and other functions. They will also be on display at local councils, relevant government offices and NRM regional offices (Low priority).
  • Write articles for regional newspapers and/or relevant magazines to raise awareness of pygmy perch status and issues (Low priority).
  • Encourage participation of local indigenous people through direct consultation and targeted advisory activities (Low priority).
  • Ensure that the Protected, Threatened and Pest Species Sighting Program cover the NSW north coast area where pygmy perch occurs. Ensure materials are available to assist the public in identifying gambusia, and encourage reporting of gambusia sightings in or near pygmy perch habitat (Low priority).

Enhance, modify or implement NRM planning processes to minimize adverse impacts on threatened species

  • Incorporate the location of pygmy perch sites within national parks into the information systems used to manage national park activities (Medium priority).
  • Incorporate appropriate impact minimisation considerations in bushfire hazard reduction plans (Medium priority).
  • Incorporate information and strategies to reduce the impacts of bush fire hazard reduction works, firefighting operations and fire trail construction on pygmy perch populations and habitats when reviewing local bush fire management plans and other reserve or community fire plans (Medium priority).
  • Encourage the identification, assessment and modification of natural resource management plans and policies which may impact on pygmy perch habitat to minimise impacts on stream flows, connectivity of habitats, riparian vegetation or soils in wallum heath areas (Medium priority).

Habitat rehabilitation

  • Identify pygmy perch habitat sites affected by sedimentation, pollution or barriers to fish movement such as roads and trails. Encourage land holders or relevant agencies (e.g. councils, RTA, OEH) to install sediment and pollution controls and provide adequate fish passage (Medium priority).
  • Identify degraded habitats known or likely to have supported pygmy perch, where there is a potential for the species to re-establish viable populations (Medium priority).
  • Develop guidelines for rehabilitation work which includes advice on appropriate native species for replanting, effective sediment controls etc (Medium priority).
  • Work with relevant stakeholders to prioritise and commence the rehabilitation of key pygmy perch habitat. This may include the establishment of a 'demonstration site' where various rehabilitation techniques are trailed and water quality monitoring undertaken (Medium priority).
  • Seek funds to expand rehabilitation work through grant schemes or other sources (Medium priority).

Pest eradication and control

  • Investigate the feasibility of eradicating gambusia from enclosed water bodies in close proximity to pygmy perch habitat that are high-risk in terms of the spread of gambusia (Medium priority).
  • Develop and implement a gambusia threat abatement plan (including the development of controls that could be used in waterways containing pygmy perch) (Medium priority).
  • Incorporate gambusia and its impacts on pygmy perch in general pest species literature and communication programs on pest species (Medium priority).

Research / monitoring

  • Evaluate sampling methodologies to determine the most effect way to sample pygmy perch populations while minimising adverse impacts on the species (High priority).
  • Encourage scientific investigation of key areas of the biology and ecology of pygmy perch to provide information valuable to the recovery of the species or its management. This may include work to establish environmental tolerances, ability to survive in disturbed habitats, factors influencing population dynamics and variability, age and growth, diet etc (High priority).
  • Evaluate the results of the initial survey program in terms of techniques, timing and site selection to develop and implement a long-term program to assess the ongoing conservation status of the species and the success of recovery actions (High priority).
  • Initiate a project to examine genetic diversity and structure in populations of pygmy perch, in collaboration with a university or other research institution (Medium priority).
  • Support this work by collecting genetic material (e.g. fin clips) during surveys within NSW (Medium priority).
  • Support further studies on interaction between the two species (e.g. experimental trials, behavioural studies, resource partitioning studies) to determine the probable impacts of gambusia on pygmy perch (Medium priority).
  • Facilitate the involvement of ANGFA volunteers, wherever possible, in survey work undertaken as part of the sampling and monitoring program (Medium priority).

Stocking / translocation

  • Implement the NSW Freshwater Fish Stocking Fishery Management Strategy to prevent significant impacts from stocking on pygmy perch populations (High priority).

Survey / mapping

  • Conduct broad-scale surveys to establish the species' limit of distribution and to identify catchments where the species might be found (High priority).
  • Conduct intensive surveys in drainage areas identified as supporting or potentially supporting new pygmy perch populations, to map their distribution and identify habitat associations (High priority).
  • Develop a GIS-based map of the distribution of known and predicted pygmy perch habitat across the species range. This will be achieved by combining available mapping and remote sending data (including soil and vegetation layers, drainage patterns, land tenure, zoning and other relevant planning information) with existing or nrew field data (High priority).
  • Produce fine-scale maps for important areas (e.g. near towns) showing the distribution of water bodies: a) known, b) with the potential, and c) unlikely to support pygmy perch (High priority).
  • Provide GIS-based maps of known and potential pygmy perch sites on CD-ROM, to councils and relevant government agencies (High priority).
  • Record data on all fish species captured during the survey program and ongoing monitoring program for entry into a species database. The data will record the capture of introduced and indigenous species (Medium priority).
  • Use this data, and any other available records, to map the distribution of introduced species relative to pygmy perch and any expansion in their range or abundance over time (Medium priority).
  • Incorporate any information obtained from the public into the species database, available via the web, and use it to assist in mapping the distribution of gambusia (Medium priority).
  • Encourage the inclusion of sampling for pygmy perch into any ANGFA fieldtrips in parts of the State where the species may potentially occur, and ensure additional records are provided to DPI (Low priority).

*(NB: the PAS actions for Oxleyan Pygmy Perch are taken from the approved NSW recovery plan for the species).