Reaching for recovery of Macca in Murrumbidgee

Endangered Macquarie Perch populations in the upper Murrumbidgee received a boost recently when a number of new broodstock where translocated into the river system.

Affectionately known as Maccas, the translocated fish are the descendants of those that were moved out of the system to Cataract Dam near Sydney over 100 years ago.

The fish were returned to improve genetic diversity in the local population as part of South East Local Land Service’s ‘Reaching for the Recovery of the Macquarie Perch’ project.

“The once populous species has been Endangered in its natural range for many years, with the severe impacts of recent drought and bushfires we need to act now to have any chance to secure its future’ said South East Local Land Services’ Felicity Sturgiss.

“The Macquarie Perch in the Upper Murrumbidgee River are one of only four remaining natural populations in NSW”

“We’re been working alongside local groups, land managers, Aboriginal people and government agencies to share knowledge of these iconic fish and their needs, and how to reach the long-term vision to #BringBackTheMacca!

“The project also provides support to land managers to remediate some of the threats to Macca habitat by way of targeted weed control, revegetation and excluding livestock from sections of the river to improve water quality”.

The release of these fish into the upper Murrumbidgee is the first stage of a five-part genetic rescue program for the South East. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries are working alongside Local Land Services on the program guiding the process and undertaking research and biosecurity checks as they roll out similar measures across the state.

Wendy Mason a Wagonga LALC ranger releasing Macquarie Perch into a side channel of the upper Murrumbidgee river

Caption: Wendy Mason a Wagonga LALC ranger releasing Macquarie Perch into a side channel of the upper Murrumbidgee river.

“The partnership is really rewarding for everyone” Felicity said

The Macquarie Perch in Cataract Dam are descended from fish translocated from the Murrumbidgee River in approximately 1914. Several batches of Macquarie Perch from Cataract Dam will be released into the Murrumbidgee River in the coming years.

“This is a long-term project that really needs community support and engagement, so it is great to have so many people with us to celebrate these milestones” Felicity said

“For people to come and release a fish themselves and take the opportunity to connect with the Maccas was a real thrill” Felicity said.

The Reaching for the recovery of the Macquarie Perch project is supported by South East Local Land Services in partnership with NSW DPI Fisheries through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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