Macquarie perch recovery - let's get serious about the recovery of Maccas

The VFA, under the Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan, has a commitment to the recovery of our freshwater fish species. Now is the critical moment to secure the survival of Maccas. The VFA is working with partners using an integrated approach to make this a reality. Only by working together can we safeguard the future of this unique and iconic species

Historically, Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica (‘Maccas’) were once an abundant and widespread native fish species throughout the south-eastern Murray-Darling system. However, Maccas are now nationally endangered and are fighting for their survival, with serious implications for Australia’s freshwater biodiversity. Australia-wide only a handful of self-sustaining wild Macca populations remain in isolated and disconnected waterways.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority, together with key partners, have worked hard over a number of years to rebuild and re-establish Macquarie perch populations. We’ve invested significant resources into production and stocking, habitat restoration, and research to better understand the species.

However, a number of barriers and challenges to the recovery of Maccas remain.

The VFA in conjunction with key partners getting serious about the recovery of Maccas and are embarking on a holistic and integrated approach.

Fish breeding, stocking and translocation

There are a range of complementary and integrated actions for supporting the recovery of Maccas. Captive breeding and stocking of Macquarie perch has been identified as the most critical action and short-term goal for their recovery.

Breeding using wild broodstock has a long history and has been undertaken over a number of years with some success.

Watch a historical video from the 1950s on Macquarie perch spawning and breeding using broodstock from the Jamieson River here:

Stocking and translocations has proven successful in re-establishing Maccas in a number of locations, such as the Ovens River.

Watch a video on the collaborative Ovens project here:

However, with our reliance on using wild broodstock for breeding limited, captive breeding is the ultimate goal if we are to give Maccas the best chance of surviving and thriving in the wild.

Habitat and river health restoration

Population monitoring and modelling

How can you help?

  • Connect with us and join our ‘recovering Maccas’ Facebook page/newsletter to stay up to date
  • Register to contribute to volunteer habitat efforts
  • Register to attend Macquarie perch stocking events
  • Consider how you can help us reach coinvestors to help recover Macquarie perch – download the prospectus here

Threats to Macquarie perch

Maccas are a nationally endangered species. Once widespread throughout the south-eastern Murray-Darling system, fragmented populations are now only found in a number of isolated waterways (see a map of historical versus current distribution here).

Key threats to the survival of the species include:

  • Loss of connectivity and barriers to fish passage as a result of water regulation (construction of dams, weirs)
  • Changes in natural flows and cold-water impacts
  • Loss of habitat, riparian vegetation and impacts on river health
  • Climate change and extreme weather events (such as drought and bushfires)

Watch more about the plight of Macquarie perch and what’s being done to rehabilitate river health below.

Further resources