Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica) is a moderate-sized freshwater fish that is listed as an endangered under NSW and Commonwealth law. New research suggests that there may be at least two distinct forms of Macquarie Perch, one from the western rivers (Murray-Darling Basin/western form) and one from the eastern river (Hawkesbury-Nepean Rivers/coastal form). Macquarie Perch can be mistaken for other native species so it is important that fishers and land managers can identify each species.
To increase awareness about Macquarie perch, NSW Department of Primary Industries have released a new guide: “Protecting Macquarie perch: a new guide for fishers and land managers“. This guide provides valuable information about Macquarie perch: identifying features, habitat, threats, targeted actions and what you can do to help.
Macquarie perch can be confused with other native species. This diagram compares characteristics of Macquarie perch with other species.

What we know and where to next

Macquarie perch populations have significantly reduced over time as a result of a range of factors: the construction of dams and weirs, the removal of riparian vegetation, historic overfishing, pollution from domestic, agricultural and industrial sources, and competition with and predation by introduced fish. Key targeted actions are being undertaken to support the recovery of Macquarie perch include:

  • Priority rehabilitation at key sites known to support Macquarie perch populations
  • Allocating and managing environmental flows to restore seasonal flow patterns
  • Artificial breeding and conservation stocking
  • Continued monitoring of stocked populations
  • Improving awareness of the threatened status of Macquarie perch and ways to minimise impacts on the species

What you can do to help...

  • If you catch a Macquarie perch, or any other threatened species, release it carefully with the least possible harm.
  • If you live on or manage land adjacent to Macquarie perch habitat, prevent stock from directly accessing waterways, manage and protect vegetation on river banks, revegetate degraded riparian areas, and prevent erosion. Become involved in habitat restoration or other programs that improve habitat for native fish
  • Report illegal or suspect fishing activities by:
    1. Contacting your nearest Fisheries Office
    2. Using the Fishers Watch Phone line 1800 043 536; or
    3. Completing the ‘Report illegal activity’ online form.
  • Participate in the NSW DPI Threatened Species Sighting Program. If you catch or see a Macquarie Perch, take a photo, record the details and send the information to the NSW DPI Threatened Species Unit by emailing fisheries.threatenedspecies@dpi.nsw.gov.au or by completing the ‘Report a threatened species’ online form.
For more information about Macquarie perch and for some handy tips on how to protect them while out fishing, download the guide here.

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