Fish surveys by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI) suggest Macquarie perch, Southern pygmy perch, River blackfish and Two-spined blackfish numbers are increasing in the King Parrot Creek.
Arthur Rylah Institute Scientist Joanne Kearns said the fish surveys were conducted during April 2015 as part of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (GBCMA) King Parrot Creek Project to obtain current information on the population status of Macquarie perch between Flowerdale and Kerrisdale.
“A total of 608 fish were captured, comprising seven native and two introduced species, with native fish accounting for 83% of the total catch,” Ms. Kearns said.
“Macquarie perch was the most abundant species captured, with 386 individuals between 62 and 350 mm in length captured at all monitoring sites.”
Ms Kearns believes the increase in Macquarie perch numbers can be attributed to consecutive years of strong recruitment, particularly during spring 2013.
“It is pleasing to see record numbers of Macquarie perch collected during this survey and also see Southern pygmy perch, River blackfish and Two-spined blackfish numbers increase considerably over the past two years,” She said.
Ms Kearns said the presence of Southern pygmy perch within the King Parrot Creek was very encouraging given the widespread decline of this small-bodied native species across much of its former range over the past few years.
No Carp, Goldfish or Redfin were collected during the survey, but Ms Kearns said litter and discarded fishing line continue to be a threat to native fish populations in the King Parrot Creek.
Community groups and landholders in the King Parrot Creek Catchment have helped improve the condition of the King Parrot Creek and the resilience of the Macquarie perch population in the Creek by undertaking significant riparian protection and enhancement works over a number of years.
The Goulburn Broken CMA has provided incentives to landholders with King Parrot Creek frontage to erect more than 10.8 kilometres of fencing and revegetate around 25 hectares of riparian land with almost 14,000 indigenous plants. Weed control has also been a major focus in the area, with more than 665 hectares of weeds controlled in riparian areas by community groups and landholders through State and Australian Government funded Goulburn Broken CMA programs.
The Macquarie perch was once abundant and widespread across Victoria and New South Wales but has declined dramatically since the 1970’s, with remaining populations relatively small and isolated. The species is currently listed nationally as Endangered (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and listed as a threatened species under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
Anglers are reminded that taking Macquarie perch from waterways within the Goulburn Broken Catchment is prohibited, and it is important to remember to return the fish to the waterway as soon as possible if accidentally caught.
The King Parrot Creek Project is run as part of the Goulburn Broken CMA’s On-ground Works Program with funding from the State Government. Funding is available to landholders for riparian protection projects including stock control fencing, off stream watering, revegetation and weed control.
For more information on the King Parrot Creek Project contact Kirsten Roszak at the Yea office of the Goulburn Broken CMA on 5797 4400.