by DPI Victoria
More than 22,000 Macquarie perch were recently stocked into four Victorian waters to help rebuild stocks of this endangered freshwater fish.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said fish had been released into Expedition Pass Reservoir (5,000), Lake Dartmouth (5,000), the Ovens River near Myrtleford (6,320) and the Goulburn River near Trawool (6,320).
Mr Walsh said the fingerling perch had been produced at the Department of Primary Industries’ Snobs Creek hatchery, near Eildon, which also grew other native fish such as Murray cod and trout cod.
'Wild Macquarie perch populations were once very common but have declined, so these stockings should assist the recovery of the species,' Mr Walsh said.
'In recent years, some Macquarie perch have been sourced from Lake Dartmouth for our breeding program so our stocking there this year was to acknowledge that contribution.
'Lake Dartmouth is home to Australia’s largest population of Macquarie perch although a strong translocated population also exists in the mid-sections of the Yarra River,' Mr Walsh said.
'Native Fish Australia and researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute contributed to the breeding program by collecting Macquarie perch broodfish from both waters.'
Mr Walsh said Fisheries Victoria had been working hard to develop several new fisheries for Macquarie perch where anglers could catch the species on a limited basis.
'Expedition Pass Reservoir, near Castlemaine, is one such example that is progressing well. A survey last year revealed Macquarie perch as long as 28 centimetres, a sign that some of the 10,000 fingerlings stocked over recent years have survived and grown,' Mr Walsh said.
'Fisheries managers hope to open the fishery at Expedition Pass Reservoir in coming years. For now, anglers can only take Macquarie perch from Lake Dartmouth, the Yarra River and the Upper Coliban Reservoir in accordance with strict bag, size and season limits.'
The Macquarie perch breeding program is funded by the Victorian Coalition Government’s $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative, which has also funded the installation of fish cleaning tables, expansion of angler access, construction of fishing reefs, improvement of fish passageways and strengthened fisheries enforcement and education.
Recreational Fishing Initiative