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Some good news on ‘maccas’

April 26, 2012

Researchers from Arthur Rylah Institute have once again been monitoring the endangered Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica) in King Parrot Creek and have good news to report.  Preliminary results show a tally of 54 Macquarie Perch at 6 sites, which is the highest number recorded since annual surveys began in 2006. The number is certainly well up on last year, when only 19 were caught.

The highest number of maccas was just downstream of Burslems Bridge (21), with a further 9 netted at the nearby “Callandoon” site. This stretch of creek has previously been found to be a major spawning site for the perch.  Other survey sites along the creek from Flowerdale down to Kerrisdale all recorded significant numbers of Macquarie Perch. Most of the fish were around 200 – 230mm long (from 2 to 4 years old), but a couple of maccas were up around 40cm.  One disappointing result was that only 2 juveniles were captured – it is not clear at this stage why there were so few, but it tallies with similar results in Hughes and Seven Creeks.

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It was of great interest that two of the captured maccas were tagged fish that had previously been caught at the same location in 2010, and had grown well over 100mm in just 2 years! The ARI researchers are testing a new tagging method this year. This involves an external tag (see pictures in slide show) with a unique fish number as well as “DSE, REWARD” and phone number on it. If an angler catches a tagged fish, it is hoped it will be reported to DSE and there is less likelihood of the fish being taken illegally. To encourage reporting, the angler will be rewarded with a stubby holder or lure! The reported tag information can provide valuable data on fish growth and movement between survey periods.

Other positive results from the surveys were that no carp were found upstream of the Goulburn Valley Highway, and 2 platypus were recorded. Unfortunately the survey team also found illegal nets set in the creek as well as a considerable amount of abandoned fishing line.

A timely reminder here that this once-widespread fish is now confined to a few isolated populations and is a threatened species. It is strictly prohibited to take Macquarie Perch from all Victorian waters, except Lake Dartmouth, the Yarra River and the Upper Coliban Reservoir.

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