Threatened fish successfully bred and released

NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) staff have released more than 400 small rare native fish, the southern pygmy perch, earlier this month into a creek in the Upper Lachlan catchment, east of Boorowa.

Southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca australis) were once widely distributed throughout the Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray River systems as well as coastal streams in South Australia and Victoria, north-eastern Tasmania and King and Flinders Islands in Bass Strait.

However, with large-scale reductions in their numbers they have now been listed as a threatened species in NSW, with only three known populations remaining.

Adult brood stock of the fish were collected from a remnant population in the Upper Lachlan catchment in 2006 and were taken to DPI’s Narrandera Fisheries Centre, where they successfully bred in aquaculture ponds.

“The site of the release has very good fish habitat for southern pygmy perch,” DPI Fisheries Conservation Manager, Luke Pearce, said.

“The site has many pools, healthy and continuous native riparian (bank) vegetation, aquatic plants and snags (large woody debris), which provide shelter from predators, such as birds, and sites for breeding.

“It is also in close proximity to where the brood stock were collected, and has no alien or predatory fish species present, which will assist the new population to recover.”

NSW DPI research staff will continue to monitor the population and further releases of southern pygmy perch may take place at this and other suitable locations in order to assist the recovery of this species.

There are heavy penalties for harming, possessing, buying or selling southern pygmy perch, or for harming their habitat.

Information on the species can be obtained from the NSW DPI website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

Photo available from sarahc@sf.nsw.gov.au