Macquarie perch – Life on the edge of Extinction

Macquarie perch

Macquarie perch

Prue McGuffie (University of Canberra and NSW DPI Fisheries) is currently completeing her PhD looking at Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica) an Endangered Australian native fish. This project aims to identify important habitat and flow requirements for their successful spawning and recruitment.

Populations of Macquarie perch have contracted in distribution and abundance and there are now only four substantial self-sustaining remnant populations remaining (Abercrombie River, upper Murrumbidgee River, Cotter River and Dartmouth Dam) These populations are isolated from each other and require active management to assist with population recovery.

There is currently a lack of knowledge on the specific habitat and flows Macquarie perch require to breed and recruit successfully. This information is vital to help guide managers and the community in river rehabilitation to aid the recovery of this species.

Fisheries NSW is developing a captive breeding program to aid reintroduction into areas where Macquarie perch are locally extinct. But captive breeding continues to prove problematic, and a detailed understanding of the species natural recruitment biology in the wild may allow refinement of captive husbandry to enhance success.

This project will use acoustic telemetry to track fish movement and habitat use. Acoustic tags (pictured) will be surgically implanted into 40 Macquarie perch from the Upper Murrumbidgee (Bolaro to Michelago) and the Abercrombie River (Bumaroo Ford to Tuena). These tags emit a signal every 5 minutes or so. Listening stations or receivers (pictured) will be placed within the river to record whenever a tagged fish moves into that area.

Using this technology researchers will be able to determine:

• How far Macquarie perch move in general
• Home range
• If flows trigger Macquarie perch to move
• Where they move to spawn
• What makes good spawning habitat

For more information on the project or if you see receivers being tampered with please contact:

Prue McGuffie
PH: 02 44789 120 or EMAIL: prue.mcguffie@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

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Currently completeing my PhD on Macquarie perch. Affiliated with University of Canberra and NSW DPI Fisheries. I have worked for fisheries for 6 years and been involved in fish reaserch for 9.

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