Locally extinct fish return to Macquarie River after 70 years

Joint media release: Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW and Member for Bathurst

Stewart Fielder, Dean Gilligan and Abagail Elizur releasing Macquarie Perch into the Macquarie River, NSW

More than 70 years after the species were last recorded in the catchment, 7,500 juvenile Macquarie Perch have been released back into the Macquarie River catchment at Winburndale Dam, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.

Mr Marshall said the Macquarie Perch species had been named after the very river near Bathurst it had been released back into.

“After a 70-year hiatus from the local waterway, it is very special to see more than 7,500 of these Macquarie Perch return home,” Mr Marshall said.

“We are very excited to be reintroducing this species here after they were bred at the NSW Government’s flagship fish hatchery at Narrandera.

“It is our hope these fingerlings will grow up to establish a new population here and once again become abundant in the Macquarie River catchment from which they derive their name.

“We have seen some of the most challenging conditions for native fish over the last few years, with drought and then bushfire runoff causing considerable harm to local populations, so restocking initiatives like this are vital in supporting their recovery.”

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole hailed the release a significant moment for the local community.

“While it is always fantastic to see fish returned to our local waterways, this is an extra special release of more than 7,500 Macquarie Perch,” Mr Toole said.

“They were last recorded in this catchment more than 70 years ago, and I know our region’s passionate fishos will welcome their return.

“Conditions are now ideal for these fish to flourish in and it’s expected their populations will be able to thrive over the coming years.”

Mr Marshall said the project was funded under the Government’s $10 million 2019/20 NSW Native Fish Rescue Program.

“Our native fish species and our aquatic environment are precious resources that we must protect for future generations,” Mr Marshall said.

“That’s why the Government launched this large-scale effort to create a ‘Noah’s Ark’ program to conserve native fish after the devastating drought.

“This stocking is one of many across the state this season that has seen us deliver on our promise to do everything we can to keep these species healthy and sustainable well into the future.”

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