Turtle

Yea River Macquarie perch numbers increase

A big increase in the numbers of endangered Macquarie perch in the Yea River proved community efforts to improve the river’s health were paying off, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Riparian and River Channel Manager Jim Castles said.

A recent survey by researchers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Arthur Rylah Institute found numbers of Macquarie perch had almost quadrupled since the last survey in 2014,” Mr Castles said.

“This year, researchers collected 95 fish from across eight sites, with more than half (47) of those fish Macquarie perch. Only 12 Macquarie perch were collected during the 2014 survey, and just three in the 2013 survey, from the same sites.”

Macquarie perch collected during this year’s survey ranged in size from 110-401 mm, with most fish between 100-140 mm.

“The good numbers of juvenile fish is a great sign of a healthy and growing Macquarie perch population, and follows a similar pattern of increasing populations found in the King Parrot, Sevens and Hughes creeks,” Mr Castles said.

Macquarie perch more than 200mm long were tagged and a small sample of fin tissue was also collected for genetic investigations. Other native species collected during the survey included river blackfish, two-spined blackfish and platypus, common turtles, freshwater crayfish and yabbies (all released after the survey). Twenty-seven carp were also recorded. 

“Thanks in large part to the efforts of the local community involved in activities such as revegetation, restricting stock access and weed control through our Hooray for Yea Project, the river’s health has continued to improve,” Mr Castles said.

In the past four years, the community has:

  • completed 5km of fencing
  • planted 3820 seedlings
  • controlled 22ha of weeds
  • protected 14ha of riparian (river bank) zone.

“A healthy river and improved habitat is vital for providing food and shelter for threatened species such as Macquarie perch, as well as for other native fauna.”

Anglers are reminded that taking Macquarie perch from the Yea River is prohibited. If an angler catches a tagged fish, they are urged to report it via the reporting number listed on the tag before carefully releasing it.

The Hooray for the Yea Project is funded by the Victorian Government. Find out more here