Redfin perch poses problems

download redfin perch poster

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is preparing for battle with redfin perch after its recent discovery at new sites in the upper Lachlan, Abercrombie and Wollondilly river catchments in the central ranges of NSW.

These new populations of the feral fish could cause havoc for native threatened species of Macquarie perch and southern pygmy perch.

DPI’s Manager Aquatic Biosecurity Team, Jane Frances said redfin perch were introduced from Europe in the late 19th century for angling.

"Redfin perch are aggressive, voracious predators, eating small fish and the juveniles of large native fish. They can also degrade recreational fisheries, building up to large numbers and crowding habitats. This leads to stunted fish which are poor eating," she said.

DPI’s scientific officer, freshwater fish, Jamie  Knight said redfin perch may also carry a deadly virus, Epizootic Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (EHNV) that can devastate popular angling fish such as Murray cod, native perch species and trout.

"We are currently working with the University of Sydney to test if the Wollondilly population is carrying the devastating virus. The biology and spread of redfin is also being investigated," he said.

NSW DPI has received $83,000 funding from the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority to explore options for excluding redfin perch from habitats supporting threatened Macquarie perch above Warragamba Dam.

During the coming week, the DPI will be distributing posters on the feral fish to licence agents around NSW to help raise awareness of the problem amongst anglers.

Listed below are some simple and effective ways to protect NSW waterways and stop the spread of the redfin perch.

  • Don’t transfer fish between waterways or into farm dams.
  • Don’t use live fin fish as bait in freshwater.
  • Obtain a permit to stock fish.
  • Don’t return pest fish to the water kill it humanely and dispose of appropriately.

Reported suspected pests to DPI’s 24 hour aquatic pests hotline on 02 4916 3877.

For more information contact your local fisheries office or the NSW DPI Aquatic Pests Unit.

Download the Redfin perch poster (PDF, 349.19 KB)