Department of Primary Industries (DPI) staff have successfully relocated hundreds of Southern Pygmy Perch from Blakney Creek, just north of Yass, into two suitable farm dam habitats to create safe refuges for the threatened fish. Recent surveys by DPI and the University of Canberra confirmed that the pest fish species Redfin perch has migrated at least six kilometres upstream, since 2013, and are significantly threatening the Blakney Creek population of the endangered Southern Pygmy Perch. The photo above shows a redfin cut open and two pygmy perch found in its guts.
DPI Senior Conservation Manager, Dr Trevor Daly said during the recent surveys DPI obtained evidence of direct predation of Southern Pygmy Perch by redfin perch.
In areas where Redfin perch invade the Southern Pygmy Perch soon decline and disappear. The southern pygmy perch were once widely distributed throughout the Murrumbidgee and Murray River Systems however there are now only three known remnant populations remaining in NSW. To help protect the Southern Pygmy Perch population in Blakney Creek we have relocated 268 Southern Pygmy Perch into two suitable farm dam habitats and we are very grateful for landowner assistance with this essential and exciting project.
Allan Howard of ‘Rocky Ridge’, Blakney Creek said he and his wife were pleased their dams could be used to create refuges for the Southern Pygmy Perch.
“We are happy to assist with this important conservation work by allowing our dams to be stocked with rare native fish species,” Mr Howard said.
The Southern Pygmy Perch in the Howards’ dams will be monitored regularly and it is hoped they will breed and grow in numbers to the extent they can be stocked into other refuge areas in future. The Department will investigate other suitable dam and waterway habitats within the Blakney Creek catchment where further potential refuges for Southern Pygmy Perch can be established with the support of local landowners.
There are heavy penalties for harming, possessing, buying or selling Southern Pygmy Perch, or for harming their habitat.
Relocating the Southern Pygmy Perch will hopefully enable population numbers to grow. Meanwhile, the population of Southern Pygmy Perch in the Pudman Creek Rivers of Carbon site is continuing to flourish…
Information about the species can be obtained from the DPI website at this link.
Story from the New South Wales Freshwater Fisher June 2015