Threatened native fish species including Olive Perchlet, Oxleyan Pygmy Perch and Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon have received a critical boost to their populations following conservation stocking efforts across NSW.
In 2019, at the height of the drought, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries staff rescued several of these small bodied freshwater native fish from drying pools and relocated them to the DPI hatcheries at Grafton and Narrandera where they are now being used as breeding stock to help future recovery efforts.
DPI Senior Fisheries Manager Threatened Species, Dr Trevor Daly, said that these rescues were a critical action in response to the significant threats posed to these species by the severe drought and bushfires over the 2019-20 summer period.
“The threatened fish we have at our hatcheries are an ‘insurance population’ we are using to breed and support the recovery of the species in the wild now that conditions have improved,” Dr Daly said.
“Over 270 Oxelyan Pygmy Perch juveniles were stocked by DPI Fisheries into the Brunswick River catchment, over 7,000 Olive Perchlet stocked into the Macquarie River catchment, and over 8,200 Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon into Tenterfield Creek.”
DPI will conduct ongoing monitoring to determine if the conservation stocking program is successful in bolstering the populations of these rare fish in these key areas.
“Over the coming years, these small bodied, native fish will continue to be part of our conservation stocking program to increase the species’ distribution and abundance which is key to their long-term recovery,” Dr Daly said.
“This is a small step in a long journey towards the conservation and recovery of these threatened species.”